By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
LOWELL, Mass. — The No. 5/6 Boston University men’s hockey team scored four goals in the second period en route to a 5-1 victory over the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on Friday night. The victory was BU’s first of the season that was not decided by one goal.
The Terriers (5-0-1, 3-0-1 Hockey East) scored two shorthanded goals on the night and junior goaltender Kieran Millan carried a shutout deep into the third period for the second consecutive game.
“I thought it was a terrific road game for us,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “I thought it was one of the best games we’ve played up here. Obviously some pretty plays, some pretty goals, but we won that game on effort. We had guys blocking shots with four minutes to go in a 5-0 game, so pretty good effort that way.”
BU started the night slowly as it was unable to maintain possession in the offensive zone for the better part of the first period. At 16:26 in the period, sophomore defenseman Max Nicastro went to the box on a boarding call, and oddly enough, that’s when the Terriers finally came around.
Halfway through the penalty kill, junior assistant captain David Warsofsky chipped a puck past a defenseman in the neutral zone, then marched in toward the net on a 2-on-1 with sophomore forward Alex Chiasson. Warsofsky looked for a shot and then passed to Chiasson, who fired the puck past UML goaltender Marc Boulanger for the shorthanded tally.
“Chiasson’s was just a great pass, and he walked in and did a nice job,” Parker said. “Warsofsky, for him to jump in the play like he did, he almost took it end-to-end and then made a fabulous pass through a defenseman to get it to Chiasson.”
In the second period, the Terriers completely took over, and they did not wait long to get the scoring started. Only 1:59 into the period, junior co-captain Chris Connolly tipped freshman defenseman Garrett Noonan’s shot from the point in back door to put BU up 2-0.
A little more than two minutes later, junior forward Corey Trivino scored his first goal of the season after collecting a puck that bounced off the boards and sliding it past Boulanger.
Only 55 seconds later, freshman forward Charlie Coyle increased the lead to 4-0 when he roofed a wrister from the right circle top-shelf for his third goal of the season.
“One of our goals for every game is to be able to score, and then score again,” Parker said. “We did that twice tonight. We scored again, and the we scored again, so that was pretty nice.”
But the Terriers were not done for the period. After Noonan was whistled off for holding, BU once again went on the penalty kill, and once again, they notched a shorthanded goal. This time, the score came from freshman forward Sahir Gill who walked in on a breakaway pushed a puck through five-hole despite being hooked on the play.
“Sahir Gill, I knew he was going to score,” Parker said. “He just has great hands and he undressed the goaltender. Both [shorthanded] goals were really skilled plays, and when you have skilled players, when they play they look pretty sharp.”
But the game for the Terriers was not solely about scoring goals. Millan had another standout night in goal and carried a shutout until 14:10 in the third period. When the defense struggled in the first period, Millan was right there to pick up the slack. And while BU scored twice on its own penalty kills, UML was unable to convert on any of its five power plays.
Then, when BU could have sat back on its five-goal lead, the Terriers instead continued to block shots, hit hard and knock pucks loose.
“We needed to do that,” Connolly said. “Kieran has been great and we want to take as much pressure off him as we can. The new defensive scheme allows us to block a lot of shots, but that only matters if the guys are willing to do that. It’s been pretty obvious as of late that guys don’t have a problem stepping in front of pucks, and that’s good to see.”
The Terriers now have five wins in October, a stark difference from last season when they did not record their fifth win until January. But like in Friday night’s game, the Terriers do not plan to sit back on their good start.
“It obviously drives you to keep on pushing,” Trivino said of the faster start. “This is the way you want to start a year. Last year, we know how it felt then and it didn’t feel good, so we made sure that this year, we came in ready to play. It’s working out for us so far.”