Although No. 10 Boston University and Massachusetts each came away with one point in tonight’s game, reactions to the result varied dramatically.
The deadlock disappointed the Terriers and pleased the Minutemen, but it left the Pereira family ecstatic.
With senior Joe playing against freshman Mike for the first time in their collegiate careers, BU came out flying, but squandered a 2-0 lead, as UMass rallied to tie the Terriers 2-2 in front of a crowd of 5, 920. Walking out of Agganis Arena, a member of the Pereira clan — clad in a half-BU, half-UMass jersey — said, “I like that score!”
The goaltenders stood out. UMass freshman Jeff Teglia, making his first collegiate start, stopped 33 of 35 shots, while BU junior Kieran Millan made 28 saves, including several big ones. Offensively, no player ended up with more than one point.
“I thought we played extremely well the first ten minutes of that game,” Terriers coach Jack Parker said. “Not just because we got the two goals but because we were playing smart, we were playing on the defensive side of the puck. We were not giving up opportunities to the net, and we were getting opportunities ourselves.
“It was a real good start to the game and then, hard to say this, but unfortunately we got two goals. And once we got two goals 10 minutes into the game, we completely changed how we played. We turned the puck over, played on the offensive side of the puck, and thought it was going to be easy.”
UMass coach Don ‘Toot’ Cahoon was in decidedly better spirits about the outcome.
“A lot of momentum swings,” Cahoon said. “Pretty good goaltending at both ends, two teams that seemed like they desperately wanted two points: makes for an interesting evening. Obviously, falling behind by two, it was a positive from our standpoint that we were able to claw back into it and get the point.”
Early on in the evening, it certainly looked like it would be a pointless night for UMass. On the heels of two stirring come-from-behind wins in the Ice Breaker Tournament last weekend, and with Corey Trivino and Alex Chiasson returning from suspensions, the Terriers looked great early on. Trivino had half the net to shoot at in the opening minute, only to have Teglia make a lunging save.
After a few more BU chances, the home team took the lead at 4:32. Chiasson went behind the net with the puck and fed it into the slot. A defenseman got a piece of it, but freshman Matt Nieto one-timed it from 10 feet out for his first collegiate goal.
Just over six minutes later, BU’s top line made it 2-0. Co-captain Joe Pereira and freshman Charlie Coyle battled hard for the puck in the right-wing corner until Coyle slipped it out to co-captain Chris Connolly in the nearby circle. Connolly waited for an opening while his linemates screened Teglia, and Connolly’s shot somehow found its way through the crowd and into the net.
Connolly and Coyle each had a chance before the period’s end, but you could sense the momentum ebbing for the Terriers.
“I thought we lost our poise and gave the puck away a hundred times,” Parker said. “It was bizarre to me. But I’ve seen it happen a lot: a team gets up two-nothing and thinks, ‘Oh, we’re pretty good.’ And then we started playing very un-thorough, and UMass started playing very thorough.”
The teams traded chances in the second period, with Teglia making a great save on Sahir Gill right after Michael Pereira threatened to score for UMass.
“We threw [Teglia] into the Minnesota game the second night, very early on, and I think they were on a five-on-three,” Cahoon said. “We said, ‘OK kid, you said you wanted to play Division-I hockey? Here you go!’ We’re at Mariucci Arena and there’s 10,000 people, and they’re firing away. That really helped him out, that experience.
“He’s a battler; he’s not your conventional stylist, but he finds a way to compete and stop pucks.”
The tide continued to swing to the Minutemen, but Millan stood tall, stopping a Conor Sheary shot followed by a Mark Concannon rebound bid midway through the period.
The BU faithful had to be relieved when the second period ended without a goal, but the intermission didn’t help the home team.Millan made a great save on Rocco Carzo just 11 seconds into the third period, and it was all UMass for the rest of the period. At 3:16, the Minutemen made it 2-1 when BU couldn’t clear the zone.Darren Rowe threw the puck at the net from inside the blue line, and it appeared to carom off a defender before going in.
UMass tied it up at 11:14 when Conor Sheary drove to the night, fighting off defenseman Ryan Ruikka before nudging the puck to Concannon on his left for the goal.
The Terriers sluggishness continued into overtime, though BU very nearly won it in the final seconds when a terrific pass by Chiasson sprung Nieto for a breakaway. He was slashed before shooting it wide, and a penalty shot was definitely justifiable with under 10 seconds left. However, it was called a two-minute penalty, and UMass escaped the too-little-too-late pressure.
“It seems like we each got the same out of this game, but in reality they got a lot more out of this game,” Parker said. “Not only did they get a point on the road, but they came back from 2-0 on the road to do it.”
BU (2-0-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) travels out to UMass (0-2-1, 0-0-1) on Friday for a rematch before hosting Providence on Saturday night.