BOSTON, Mass. — The UMass fans chant who chanted overrated at the No.1 Boston University Terriers on Friday night spoke too soon.
On Friday night, Minuteman fans were reveling in a 3-0 lead when they started the chant. BU proceeded to outscore UMass by a 13-2 margin for the rest of weekend.
After trailing 1-0 tonight, BU scored seven straight goals en route to a 7-2 victory in front of 5,887 at Agganis Arena, extending their nation-best unbeaten streak to 14 games. Since losing to Vermont on November 22, BU is 18-1-4.
I thought we were horrible in the first period, Terrier coach Jack Parker said about tonights game. I thought they were good, and we were real bad–not taking care of the puck, not skating.
Last night after being down 2-0 I went into the dressing room and said, Youre playing well–just keep playing hard. I like the way were playing. Tonight I went in and got into them real bad because they were playing like they thought they could just put on the uniform and play. To their credit, they came out and played a hell of a second period. The power play was the difference in the game.
BU scored on three of nine power plays in the game, leading UMass coach Don Toot Cahoon to reflect on his teams lack of discipline.
Theres not much to say, Cahoon said. Thats a terrific Boston University team. I was really pleased with the way my kids came off of what a very disappointing performance in the second half of last nights game and responded with a sound effort initially.
Discipline is a real issue with our team in terms of taking penalties over the last few weeks. It continued to haunt us tonight against a team that has an exceptional power play.
Nick Bonino led the way with two goals and an assist for the Terriers, while Colby Cohen, Jason Lawrence, Brandon Yip, and Corey Trivino all added a goal and an assist.
UMass had the first few shots, including a Brett Watson backhander that required a kick save from BU goalie Kieran Millan at 1:05. Shortly after the first Terrier power play expired, the Minuteman got the first goal for the second night in a row.
BU had control of the puck behind their net, and a defenseman passed in the direction of Terrier center Luke Popko, who lost an edge and fell down. As a result, the puck went directly onto the stick of star Minuteman forward James Marcou, who rifled a slap shot past Kieran Millan to make it 1-0 at 7:39.
BU answered just 44 seconds later. The Terrier third line of Corey Trivino, Vinny Saponari, and Chris Connolly had almost all of the teams best chances during the period, and they capitalized at 8:05. Connolly skated in on the left wing and dished to Saponari crashing the net. Saponari sold the shot, driving to the stick side of goalie Dan Meyers, before slipping a last-second backhanded pass to Trivino at the far post for the easy tap-in goal.
The line almost scored again on their next shift, but Trivinos pass eluded Connolly with half of the net open at 10. Connolly had yet another good chance at 16:15.
UMass certainly had their opportunities as well, outshooting BU 13-6 during the period. One of the best came at 17:20, when a Martin Nolet slapshot was redirected high in front. Millan made an apparent face save.
BU broke it open in the second period. Great passing on the power play led to the go-ahead goal at 6:15. Brandon Yip fired a pass from the left point to Nick Bonino, wide open low in the right-wing circle. Bonino took a long look and then pinpointed a high shot in for the goal.
A funny bounce set up Marcou for another good opportunity at 7:30, but Millan made the shoulder save to maintain the lead. Another Minuteman penalty ultimately led to another power-play goal for the Terriers at 11:33, thanks to more great passing with the man advantage. Wilson had the puck low in the right-wing circle and passed to Colby Cohen creeping in from the left point. His shot beat the extended glove of Meyers and grazed the far post before going on.
The way they played us last night, you could not make those passes, Parker said. We had to play from behind the net almost all night long. We had to change our power play quite a bit from the way they played us last night. Tonight we had a chance to make what we call a bypass pass [instead of working the puck around the perimeter]. When you do that, it really puts pressure on the goaltender.
Indeed it did. That was all for Meyers, who was pulled in favor in Paul Dainton. Seconds later, Terrier defenseman Brian Strait was injured on a hit in his own end, resulting in the first of two UMass penalties in a 15-second span. Strait likely will be out for two weeks–maybe more, Parker said–though the prognosis is uncertain for now.
The Minutemen survived the lengthy five-on-three but yielded a back-breaking goal with seconds left in the latter penalty. Jason Lawrence redirected Colby Cohens shot from the left point into the net for his team-leading 20th goal.
BU made it 5-1 36 seconds into the third period directly off an offensive-end faceoff, when Bonino won the draw to Yip for a quick shot and score. Bonino made it 6-1 at 3:38 when he drove hard toward the stick-side post, pulling Dainton over before circling the net for the wraparound goal. At 8:07, Connolly had an easy redirect for a goal off an Eric Gryba shot-pass. Cory Quirk scored on a power play with 2:36 remaining, but it was long over at that point. That broke a streak of 23 consecutive penalty kills for the Terriers.
While it was obviously a great weekend for the BU team, Parker raved in particular about the play of defenseman Eric Gryba. He was immense this weekend, Parker said. He was terrific with the puck, terrific banging people, terrific competing, terrific killing penalties. Because of the lineup back there, he and Straity dont get a lot of recognition. Everyone has a role to fulfill on the team, and he fulfills his as well as anybody.
BU (25-5-4, 16-5-4) plays a home-and-home series against Providence–the one team that has beaten them during their 18-1-4 stretch–next weekend. The Terriers will need one more point than Northeastern next weekend if they are to obtain the No. 1 seed in the Hockey East quarterfinals. UMass (14-17-3, 9-13-3) plays a home-and-home pair against Merrimack. They are locked into the No. 7 seed and will play at either Northeastern or BU in the playoffs.