AMHERST, Mass. — Last Saturday at Agganis Arena, the No. 8 Boston University Terriers couldn’t hang onto a two-goal lead in the third period and had to settle for a tie against the Massachusetts Minutemen.
Friday night at Mullins Center, BU once again took a two-goal lead into the third against UMass, but this time it hung on for the 4-3 win to extend its season-opening unbeaten streak to four games for the first time since 2001-02.
Many Terrier fans had to be wondering if it was déjà vu all over again when Darren Rowe scored his second goal of the night on a shot through traffic just 1:48 into the final stanza. The Minutemen (0-3-1, 0-1-1 Hockey East) sustained pressure for the next two minutes, but then BU (3-0-1, 1-0-1 HE) drew a penalty and was able to settle down the rest of the way.
“We had the right attitude,” said Terrier co-captain Joe Pereira, who tallied his fourth goal of the season in the win. “I think last week, we came apart, maybe because we’re a young team. We just quit playing BU hockey. This time, we just kept telling the boys, ‘Be committed, 60 minutes, it’s gonna take 60 minutes of play.’”
BU controlled the pace of play for most of the remainder of the third and was rewarded with 1:37 to go when freshman Sahir Gill forced a steal, came in on a breakaway and beat Jeff Teglia with a nifty forehand-backhand deke. It proved to be an important insurance goal as Michael Marcou scored for UMass with 19 seconds left.
“I was very pleased with how we played for the most part,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “This is a tough building to play in. And with their speed and their ability to transition and get going on the offense and their ability to cycle down low, I was real pleased that we only gave up 26 shots tonight. That’s a good effort.”
Despite outshooting UMass 10-4 in the first, BU found itself trailing 1-0 at the break thanks to Rowe’s power-play marker.
“I could tell on the bench that they knew they played well [in the first],” Parker said. “I said, ‘Hey, guys, that was a better period than you played all last week against them.’ Even though we were down 1-0, that was a very, very solid period. … I said, ‘Not only will I take that effort for the rest of this game, you give us that effort and those brains for the rest of the season and you’re gonna win a lot of hockey games.’”
In the second, that effort paid off for the Terriers. Freshman Charlie Coyle tied the game when he tipped home Chris Connolly’s shot from the point on the power play. Then Andrew Glass made it 2-1 BU when he took in a pass from Ross Gaudet and sniped the top corner. Pereira sent the Terriers into the intermission with a 3-1 lead when he came out of the penalty box, took a pass from Connolly, broke in alone and beat Teglia five-hole.
For the Minutemen, it was the same story it’s been all season — play hard all game, but fall behind by multiple goals and fail to overcome it for the win.
“The mistakes that we made continue to be young mistakes, young players either losing their poise or just not following through with their assignment,” said UMass coach Don Cahoon. “I’d like to think that we can start to minimize that after we’ve played for a month. So we’re gonna be really looking to try to get more solid, consistent play from everyone from this point on.”