By Sam Dykstra/DFP Staff
ORONO, Maine — About five minutes into the second period of what ended up being a wild game between two Hockey East rivals, Boston University sophomore forward Alex Chiasson was sprung for a breakaway toward the University of Maine net. Already up 1-0, Chiasson had a chance to extend the Terriers’ lead on the road in one of the most difficult barns in the conference during the 2010-11 season. He sped in on Maine goalie Shawn Sirman, moved the puck over to his backhand and promptly shoved the puck into the goalie right leg pad.
“That could have been a game-changer right there,” Chiasson reflected after the game.
What followed the missed opportunity can be described in any number of ways, but perhaps offensive onslaught is both the most alliterative and appropriate.
Maine forward Spencer Abbott was sent on a breakout of his own and accurately slammed the puck into the top right shelf from the right faceoff circle. Twenty-one seconds later, he faked the same maneuver, prompting BU junior goalie Kieran Millan to drop down into the butterfly, before again shattering the same plate in the same corner of the BU net. For good measure, Maine center Tanner House scored his own goal moments later.
What had once been a near two-goal lead was a two-goal deficit in only 1:12 of hockey time.
A run like that could and maybe even should be enough to deflate any team, especially on the road and especially when the home team is 8-1-1 in its own rink entering the night.
But when Chiasson got his second chance at a game-changer six minutes after he had his first, he took advantage. After a hit put him on his knees, Chiasson still found the strength to gather a pass from freshman winger Matt Nieto and score from the slot to cut the deficit to one and silence a once raucous crowd of 4,829.
“We’re down 3-1 and the place is going berserk,” said BU coach Jack Parker. The goals that Kieran gave up were absolutely great plays, I mean fabulous plays. . . Getting that Chiasson goal was the turning point in the game I thought.”
“To our credit, we’re down 3-1 and we don’t wilt.”
“I think that was good that right away we got back into the game,” Chiasson said. “A good forecheck and a good scoring chance. We got back into the game really quick so that was good.”
What followed Chiasson’s goal could be described as familiar. The Terriers used the newfound swing in momentum to go on a mini-run of its own with sophomore Wade Megan scoring just 24 seconds later. Junior blue-liner David Warsofsky netted the game-winner off an assist from Chiasson in the third.
But it was the perseverance of the Terriers following the Black Bears’ ambush that allowed the contest to end in the 4-3 fashion it did. During a break in the action, Parker told his team that it had what it takes to start and finish its necessary comeback.
“[I told them] ‘We’re playing really well and we gave up three goals in a minute and 10 seconds [sic]. Relax. Go play again.’ Then we started to unwind a little bit.”
And for the most part this season, BU has been able to relax despite being down. In the 12 games that the Terriers have found themselves down two goals or more including Friday night, the Terriers have won three, tied twice and closed the final deficit to one goal twice (with both of those games coming in failed comebacks after being down to both Merrimack College and Boston College last week).
It has been those kind of experiences that gave Parker the belief that his team could chip away at the Maine lead, no matter how quickly it had been acquired.
Oh, I think we had the confidence to win these games all year long. We’ve had a lot of games that we were down. We wouldn’t have won this game last year, I can tell you that. This team has been competitive all year long.