BOSTON – The Maine Black Bears extended their hot streak to 4-1-1, with a 4-2 win over the second-ranked Boston University Terriers, in a back-and-forth game between two of the nation’s hottest teams – a wacky one at that.
Alex Chiasson opened the scoring in the first period for BU, before Adam Shemansky and John Parker gave the Black Bears a 2-1 lead early in the second frame. A short delay due to a lighting malfunction allowed BU to regroup and Ross Gaudet tied the game for the Terriers after the break.
But in the third period, Mark Anthoine scored the eventual game-winner for the Black Bears on the powerplay after BU’s Wade Megan was sent to the sin bin for hooking. Spencer Abbott sealed the win with a late empty-net goal.
Black Bears goaltender Dan Sullivan made 28 saves on the night and improved to 12-5-3 for the season.
Kieran Millan also had a strong game in goal for the Terriers, making 21 saves as he fell to 13-7-1 record.
Maine, which snuck into the 20th slot in the USCHO.com national poll this week, is now unbeaten in its last three games, and will look to steal the season series with a win in the second game of their weekend series against the Terriers on Saturday evening.
“We’re obviously pleased,” said Black Bears’ head coach Tim Whitehead. “Any time you can get any points coming out of BU, it is a good night. To get both points is even better… we’re thrilled.
“We know it could have gone either way,” Whitehead said. “We knew they would come storming back [after the delay] and sure enough they did.
“On their [second] goal, we did not communicate and as a result, we tried to make a play instead of just chipping it in.”
It was a surprisingly clean game by both sides. Entering the contest, BU and Maine were tied atop the nation in penalty minutes per-game – close to 20 for each side. This time out, the teams finished the contest with just 14 combined penalty minutes.
And that was not to BU head coach Jack Parker’s liking.
“Overall, I thought it was somewhat of a boring game for a game that was so close,” said Parker, whose team lost for the first time in 2012.
“We did not feel like there was a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of bumping. They did a good job following us up center ice.
“I thought we came out flat,” the coach added. “The only time we really played well was after the lights went out.
“After we made it 2-2, I thought we came out in the third period and played like it was 5-2 [in BU’s favor]. We needed a lot more effort tonight and we did not get it.
“We had a lot of guys that did not play up to their capabilities tonight, at least not the way they have been playing lately.”
BU took a 1-0 lead at 17:56 of the first period as Chiasson potted a beautiful one-time shot from the slot off a terrific passing sequence, led by junior Megan. The goal continued a three-game goal streak for the junior assistant captain and assured his sixth game in a row with a point on the scoresheet.
The Terriers held the shots on goal advantage in the opening stanza, 11-5, and Millan was flawless as he made some strong saves to keep Maine off the scoreboard.
The start of the second period was all Maine as the Black Bears came back to take a 2-1 lead in a span of just over four minutes.
Junior forward Shemansky tied the game at 1-1 as he beat a screened Millan for his ninth goal of the season. Shemansky blocked a BU clearing attempt to keep the puck in the zone and fired on a soft, quick wrist shot past the netminder at the 5:15 mark of the period.
Just three minutes later, freshman forward Parker scored his second of the year as he beat Millan with a backhand shot after skating down the left wing untouched.
Just after Parker’s goal, the game was halted due to an electrical fault in the arena and caused the teams to return to their locker rooms. The teams returned to the ice following a 15-minute delay.
After play resumed, the Terriers answered back at 12:38 as the fourth line chipped in on the scoring to tie the game at 2-2. Gaudet corralled the puck along the goal line and banked a shot off the skate of Sullivan into the back of the net. The goal was just the second of the season for the Burlington, Mass. native and his first in ten games.
Maine took the lead back in the third period as sophomore Anthoine tipped in a shot from senior Abbott through traffic and past Millan.
The Lewiston, Maine native Anthoine picked up his ninth tally of the year on the play and his first in four games since scoring twice in a 5-4 win over New Hampshire on January 7 at Fenway Park.
At 18:26, Abbott blocked a BU shot and deflected the puck into open ice on what would become his 13th goal of the season, racing into the offensive zone and shooting it into an open cage after the Terriers had pulled the goaltender for the extra attacker.
“They left one guy at the point there,” Abbott said. “I just tried to get in the lane there and it hit me. Then I realized it was an empty net when we were skating down and I just shot it into the net.”