BOSTON — In the second period, Boston University center Cason Hohmann had Rensselaer goalie Bryce Merriam right where he wanted him.
With the netminder almost flat on his back, Hohmann patiently held the puck before firing it right into the goalie’s body.
Fortunately for the sophomore, he ended up getting another long look at the net halfway through the overtime. This time, he capitalized, sniping a top-shelf shot into the net to give No. 9 BU a 3-2 win over the Engineers in front of 4,581 at Agganis Arena.
“That first one, I was kind of mad at myself,” Hohmann said. “I had the whole net and shot it right into him. It wasn’t my best shot, so luckily, I got it back in overtime.”
Sahir Gill and Hohmann each had a goal and an assist apiece for the victors, as did C.J. Lee in a losing effort for Rensselaer.
Both goalies played extremely well, as BU freshman Sean Maguire got the win with 27 saves – including a few gems early in overtime – while Merriam stopped 38 shots.
BU was coming off the worst showing of the season – a 6-0 loss at Denver last week – and also was playing without two key players, captain Wade Megan (separated shoulder) and defenseman Alexx Privitera, who was suspended for two games due to kicking a player late in the Denver game.
“I didn’t think we played very well the first two periods; I thought that they were taking it to us,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “I told Seth [Appert, coach of Rensselaer] after the game that if there was any justice, they probably would’ve won this game. I thought they played better than us the first two periods. They had better chances, they were bumping us and they were playing harder. We were dipsy-doodling around. We still looked we were in Denver. Made a couple of changes to the lines in the third period, came out and played really, really well.”
“I thought it was a real good hockey game,” Appert said. “I thought it was a kind of a tale of two games. The first 30 or 35 minutes we dictated the pace, the flow, the physical play, and then I thought in the last 25 or 30, they did a better job of breaking out with their very talented defensive corps. They started coming at us with more speed in the neutral zone and I thought that their power play – even though they didn’t score on it – was a big momentum shift in the third. The possession time, the scoring chances and the number of penalty kills we had in the third period contributed to a momentum swing in their favor.”
The Engineers made it 1-0 at the ten-minute mark of the first period when Ryan Haggerty’s shot off of a faceoff went through Maguire’s five hole.
“We still had a bit of a hangover tonight,” Parker said. “RPI is a very good team. They’re a storied program and because we don’t see them enough, our guys don’t know how good they are.”
BU’s fourth line got that one back at 15:07 when freshman Mike Moran drove to the net from a sharp angle for a shot. The rebound bounced up in the air and senior Ryan Santana batted it in for the equalizer.
Rensselaer regained the lead at 14:43 of the second period when Lee got the puck between the dots and beat Maguire with a stick-side wrist shot.
But a series of Rensselaer power plays gave BU an overdue spark in the third period and Gill tied it up at 5:30 when he knocked in the rebound of a Garrett Noonan shot.
In overtime, Maguire made his best save of the night on a Mark McGowan redirect of a Matt Tinordi shot.
A couple of minutes later, Hohmann gambled on a neutral-zone puck and raced in. Linemate Matt Nieto went hard to the net, forcing the defenseman to back off and buying time for Hohmann’s long look and great shot.
BU (11-6-0) will face Harvard on Wednesday and Parker will be hoping that the team’s strong finish tonight means that they finally have recovered from the long layoff.
“It’s not just the time off,” Parker said. “When you’re going well, you don’t want to take a break, but we had one of the longest breaks around. Our last game was December 8 and I think Denver played on December 15, for example. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would’ve flown everybody back to Boston first [and] practice here. It was almost like we were on vacation out there. It was a long time waiting to play one game.”
Rensselaer (6-8-4) faces another tough test on Saturday night, when the Engineers play at New Hampshire.