AMHERST, Mass. — After his Boston University Terriers beat Massachusetts 6-1 Friday night, coach Jack Parker said that “if we could win two in a row, that’ll be huge for us.”
His squad nearly pulled off the twin killing, but after leading 2-1 late in the third period, UMass’ Mark Matheson tied the game on a sizzling power-play slapshot, and the teams battled to a 2-2 tie.
UMass now sits at 16-9-6 overall, with a 12-7-3 record in Hockey East play. The Terriers are 9-14-7, and 5-12-3 in the conference.
“I really liked how hard UMass played,” said Parker, whose team came just 1:49 short of notching its first two-game winning streak of the season.
“We’re happy that we played as hard as we did tonight,” said UMass coach Don Cahoon, whose Minutemen could end up squaring off with the Terriers in the opening round of the Hockey East playoffs at the Mullins Center in three weeks. “We stayed with the battle at hand.”
The Minutemen battled indeed, because after scoring the game’s first goal, the visitors scored two on them in the second period, and it came down to unlikely hero Matheson (two goals, two assists this season) to give UMass a shot at salvaging the weekend.
With BU’s Mark Mullen in the box for a hooking penalty, sophomore Stephen Werner sent a feed to Matheson on the point after some nice UMass puck movement. Matheson blasted the pass high glove side, sending most of the 6,187 in attendance to their feet.
“Coach [Cahoon] wanted us to pressure on the power play, and we got the puck,” Matheson said. “It gives us a lot of confidence, because we’ve been getting chances, but it’s a big boost to get [the tying goal] on the power play.”
The Minutemen came into the game with just a .173 success rate on the man-advantage, and have been particularly mediocre of late.
Senior defenseman Thomas Pck was sent off for interference with one second left in regulation, but the Minutemen killed off the penalty in overtime.
After being mostly shut down in the first period, the Terriers made their mark at 6:41 of the second, when Kenny Roche one-timed a Sean Sullivan feed in the high slot to tie the game 1-1. BU then took the lead when Ryan Whitney, mimicking his goal from Friday night’s 6-1 Terrier win, fired a slapshot from the point that zipped past Winer at 13:42 of the middle frame.
Greg Mauldin opened up the scoring for the Minutemen, with a big help from Tim Vitek. With Chris Capraro charging down the right wing, Vitek and Mauldin trailed through center ice. Capraro slid the puck to Vitek in the right wing slot, and he nimbly kicked it over to Mauldin, who one-timed it through Fields, making it 1-0.
The Minutemen are off until March 5, when they’ll travel to Northeastern for the first of a season-ending home-and-home series. BU will meet up with the Huskies for a home-and-home next weekend, beginning Friday night at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena.