NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — It wasn’t the prettiest of weekends, but the No. 1 Boston University Terriers came away from it still undefeated. They overcame a two-goal third period deficit Saturday night to force a 3-3 tie with the Merrimack Warriors, the teams’ second draw in as many nights.
“I thought this was a much better game than last night,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “Two ties, two overtime games, so you think maybe this was similar, but I thought both teams played much better. There was more flow to the game. It was a better effort to make plays and take it away from people.”
The Terriers’ third-period comeback was led by the top line of Chris Connolly, Corey Trivino and Alex Chiasson — a unit that was just put together this week in practice. Just under nine minutes into the final stanza, Chiasson centered a pass for Trivino, who then dished to Connolly. The junior co-captain buried his shot from the left side of the slot for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
A little more than six minutes later, Chiasson fed Connolly for a shot on net that Merrimack netminder Joe Cannata (26 saves) appeared to cover. But Trivino found the puck sitting between the goalie’s left skate and the post and poked it over the line for his second of the year.
“Connolly and Trivino’s line and Chiasson’s line got a couple of goals and they were playing against [Chris] Barton’s line and [Stephane] Da Costa’s line,” Parker said. “They had to worry about them and they still wound up getting two goals.”
The Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two power-play goals in the first. Mike Collins tipped home a shot 1:15 into the game for his second in as many nights and then Joe Cucci buried a rebound with 1:04 to go in the frame. Collins’ tally snapped BU’s streak of 32 straight successful penalty kills.
“We were disappointed that we gave up two power-play goals right off the bat,” Parker said. “We haven’t given up one in a long time. Give them credit, they made a couple of adjustments on their power play from last night and they capitalized.”
On the verge of entering the first intermission down 2-0, Wade Megan sliced Merrimack’s lead to one with a great individual effort with 30 seconds to go in the period. He took a pass at center ice, took it wide down the left wing and fended off a Warrior as he cut to the net and beat Cannata for his first of the season.
“I thought the biggest goal of the game without question was Megan’s goal at the end of the period,” Parker said. “That was huge for us.”
The Warriors returned the lead to two with a late goal of their own in the second. Karl Stollery took a hit to move the puck to Barton and create an odd-man rush. Barton then found Jesse Todd, who fired his second goal of the year past BU goalie Kieran Millan (34 saves).
Although two ties with Merrimack might not look like a good weekend on paper, Parker was happy his team came away with two points.
“I don’t know if everybody knows, but everybody on my team knows that this is not your father’s Merrimack College team,” Parker said. “They’re a team to be reckoned with in our league. We knew we had to be ready for them. They had just knocked off the No. 2 team in the nation, BC, two weeks ago.
“So being down 3-1 and coming back to tie it up in their building is a pretty good effort. We ought to feel pretty good about ourselves.”