BOSTON — Two days after seeing things fall apart at Maine on Friday night, Boston University pulled it together.
Against the Black Bears, the Terriers suffered their most lopsided loss since the 1995 in a 7-0 rout.
Sunday, they bounced back with a solid 4-1 win in their first-ever game against Connecticut.
In addition to scoring an empty-net goal in the last minute, freshman Robbie Baillageron set up Nick Roberts’ eventual game-winning goal to lead BU to the victory. Matt Grzelcyk added two assists and Matt O’Connor made 28 saves in front of 3,755 fans at Agganis Arena.
Co-captain Brant Harris scored for the Huskies.
BU coach David Quinn was impressed with his team’s character following the lopsided loss to Maine, especially as he felt the score on Friday did not remotely represent the nature of that game.
“You people are going to think I’m insane, but I stopped watching the video nine minutes into the second period,” said Quinn. “I turned to [assistant coaches] Steve Greeley and Pertti Hasanen and said, ‘I can’t believe we lost this game and I can’t believe we lost 7-0.’”
On Friday, a broken stick with a five-on-three advantage led to a Maine shorthanded goal and the floodgates were open.
“Watching the film, I was almost giggling, thinking, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Quinn said. “It was just one of those nights and I love the fact that we didn’t let it get in the way of our performance tonight.”
Meanwhile, UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh returned to Agganis Arena as a head coach after 18 years as an assistant at Boston College. On the whole, he was satisfied with the Huskies’ first showing in the building.
“I thought our team played pretty well tonight for two periods,” Cavanaugh said. “The second period got away from us a little bit. They score on the first shift of the second period, then we got deflated from their second goal.
“But I was really proud of the way our team responded in the third period. We had some terrific chances to make it a one-goal game.”
BU outshot UConn 17-8 in a scoreless first period, but O’Connor had to make his best save of the game in the opening minute. Shawn Pauly fired a clever pass to Cody Sharib in tight and it took a terrific pad save to prevent a terrific start for UConn in the series.
“O’Connor was huge,” BU freshman Nick Roberto said. “He takes up so much net. First shift of the game they had a back-door play and he stopped it with his pad. That was big.”
The Terriers then scored 33 seconds into the second period. Matt Lane found Danny O’Regan in the slot and the sophomore managed to maneuver the puck around UConn goalie Matt Grogan, tucking it in beyond his outstretched pad.
BU made it 2-0 five minutes later when Roberto received an outlet pass from Baillageron at the red line before racing in on the right wing and sniping a shot that hit the far post and went in.
On a power play at 14:44, big freshman Kevin Duane redirected a Grzelcyk shot while screening Grogan to make it 3-0. At that point, eight of BU’s last nine goals had come in the second period of games.
The Huskies turned the momentum around at 3:52 of the third period with a goal by Harris, playing in just second game of the season after coming back from an injury. Harris collected a pass that Kyle Huson banked off the left-wing boards before beating O’Connor on the short side.
For most of the rest of the way, UConn looked strong, outshooting BU 10-6 in the final frame. Ironically, their offense only fell apart when they went on a five-on-three advantage in the last three minutes, when the Huskies passed the puck right out of the BU zone twice.
Baillageron finished it off on the empty-netter, stickhandling around Jacob Poe before putting it in.
“We certainly got a much-needed win today,” Quinn said. “I really liked our first 40 minutes – we were ready to play from the get-go.”
The loss was costly for UConn, as first-line center Jordan Sims left the game with concussion symptoms in the second period, while defenseman Tyler Cooke may have broken a finger.
UConn (3-4-1) plays at American International next weekend, while BU (5-6-0) hosts North Dakota for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday night.