BOSTON – It was a back-and-forth affair between Boston University and UMass at Agganis Arena on Saturday night as the teams went to an overtime period for the second consecutive night to open their Hockey East season series.
The Terriers came from 3-0 down after the first period to earn a 5-4 victory in overtime, securing their first victory in the extra frame since taking down this same UMass team on Feb. 11, 2011 at the Mullins Center.
“The game was similar to last night’s [2-2 game in Amherst], but not to the same effect,” said Terriers head coach Jack Parker. “We got a goal to make it 3-1 and that ignited us.”
Following last night’s game, BU made some adjustments to the starting line-up, including the start of Grant Rollheiser between the pipes.
Parker also scratched junior Alex Chiasson and placed rookie Evan Rodrigues on the top line – a move that seemed to pay off as the veteran bench boss said that he was “the guy that really jumped out at [him].”
“I put him on the first line,” Parker said. “I put him on the power play and he looked great out there…We know he is an offensive player and a smart player, but I did not realize he was so feisty.”
“I’m incredibly disappointed with our inability to sustain the level of play that we worked so hard to create,” said UMass head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon. “BU is a fine team with a lot of really good players. We managed to beat ourselves along with them picking it up.”
The Minutemen had a strong start on the scoreboard in the first period, beating BU senior Grant Rollheiser for three tallies in his first start of the season. Redshirt freshman Steven Guzzo potted his first-collegiate goal at the 10:39 mark of the opening stanza, crashing the net to beat Rollheiser from the middle of the slot.
At 14:11, Troy Power was the beneficiary of a lucky bounce off the end boards as he took a carom and beat Rollheiser, who was out of place on the play.
Power picked up the puck on the right post, sliding it into an open half of the net for his first of the season.
Conor Sheary made it a 3-0 game on a great individual effort along the boards as he took the puck away from BU defenseman Charlie Coyle and deposited the puck top shelf on Rollheiser with just 30 seconds to play in the period.
UMass held a slim 21-20 chances edge in the opening stanza, including 13-11 in shots on goal.
“Everything that we did the first period that was so good and so effective…just went out the window,” Cahoon said. “Things that we work on in practice were not even considered, never mind executed.”
The Terriers offense came back to life – as it tends to do on many occasions – scoring two goals in the second period to cut their deficit to one goal.
At the 14:19 mark of the stanza, Garrett Noonan took a cross-zone pass from Corey Trivino and beat Teglia with a pretty one-timer in the left circle for his fifth goal of the season.
Less than one minute later, Sahir Gill pounced on a rebound to make it 3-2 on his seventh goal of the season. Teglia looked to be corralling the puck for a face-off, but it fell out of his glove and Gill was able to take it and slide it in on the left post.
In the second period, the Terriers controlled the play with a 34-13 advantage in chances, including 17-9 in shots on goal.
BU’s offense tied the game and took the lead in the third period within two minute’s time. At the 9:51 mark, Charlie Coyle scored BU’s nation-best fourth shorthanded goal of the season as he crashed the net on a 2-on-1 chance with Matt Nieto.
At 11:59, Chris Connolly fed a sliding Corey Trivino on the right side as he beat Teglia for his ninth goal of the season to cap off a lengthy offensive zone sequence.
The Minutemen quickly tied the game at the 14:55 mark of the final stanza as Michael Pereira beat Rollheiser in front of the goal from between the circles for his fourth tally of the season.
BU picked up its first overtime victory of the season with 1:55 remaining in overtime as Matt Nieto wrested a shot through a screen to beat Teglia from the top of the right circle.
The goal extended Nieto’s goal-scoring streak to eight consecutive games, dating back to the conclusion of last season. His streak is the longest in BU history since Chris Drury scored in nine contests in a row from Nov. 1-26, 1996.
“He’s a real good player,” Cahoon said of Nieto and his play in the game. “He took care of business when he had opportunities. Mistakes often lead to those opportunities and we made some crucial mistakes and he capitalized.”
“It was a good competitive night for us as far as coming back from being down 3-0,” Parker said. “But we’ve still got a long way to go to become a good, solid hockey team. I certainly liked what happened after scoring the first goal. I liked how hard we played and how smart we were.”
UMass counted on the play of Teglia at many points throughout the contest as he totaled 34 saves, including 15 in the second period.
“He certainly was following the puck,” Cahoon added. “He was aggressive and he made some big saves. I can not speak to the last goal…but I thought, in general, he made some big saves and gave us credible goaltending.”
In his inaugural start of the season and first since Dec. 11, 2010, Rollheiser was also strong between the pipes for the Terriers as he stopped 29 shots.
“I really give him high marks for really hanging in there,” said Parker. “Especially when he gave up a goal late in a period like that…”
The decision was Rollheiser’s first victory since Nov. 20, 2010 when he made 41 saves in a 4-2 win over New Hampshire.
The Terriers return to action next Saturday night at UMass-Lowell before returning home to Agganis Arena on Nov. 11 against Merrimack. UMass will hit the ice next Friday night for a match-up against border rival New Hampshire at Whittemore Center.
What Charity: BU has allowed ten power play goals this season and seven have been the scorer’s first collegiate goal, including two in tonight’s game (Guzzo and Power).