By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
Chris Connolly, Alex Chiasson and Matt Nieto each netted a goal and Adam Clendening contributed two assists as the Boston University men’s hockey team beat the University of Vermont, 3-1, Saturday night. Kieran Millan saved 27 shots and lost a shutout bid with just 4.5 seconds left in the game.
The Terriers outshot the Catamounts 15-6 in the first period and completely dominated time of possession, but failed to find the back of the net. Vermont hung goalie Rob Madore out to dry several times, but the junior netminder repeatedly bailed his team out with some huge saves. The one time he did get beat, Connolly missed an open net.
Madore’s magic only lasted so long, though, as the Terriers got on the board twice in the second. Their first goal came on a five-minute power play that resulted from a hit from behind on Wade Megan that earned Connor Brickley a game misconduct.
Three and a half minutes into the man advantage, Sahir Gill cut to the net from the right side and drew two defenders before sliding a pass back to Connolly. The junior co-captain was left with another open net to shoot at, and this time he didn’t miss.
Seven minutes later, BU struck again. Clendening sprung Chiasson on a breakaway with a beautiful 100-foot breakout pass. Chiasson raced in and made a few nifty stick dekes before popping the water bottle off the top of the net with a laser over Madore’s glove.
The Terriers appeared to make it 3-0 four minutes into the third, but the goal was waved off after a video review. Max Nicastro threw a slap-pass toward the front that deflected in off Charlie Coyle’s skate, but the officials ruled that Coyle made a distinct kicking motion.
Vermont racked up its second game misconduct of the night with six minutes left in the game when Jack Downing leveled Garrett Noonan from behind and then proceeded to stand over him screaming.
The Terriers once again made the Catamounts pay for their lack of discipline. With 1:08 remaining on the power play and 2:09 to go in the game, Corey Trivino had a centering pass intercepted, but Nieto whacked the puck off Dan Lawson’s stick and past Madore.
The Catamounts ended Millan’s shutout bid with just 4.5 seconds to go in the game, marking the fourth time this season BU has lost a shutout in the final two minutes of a game.
***Reporter’s note: Due to the unforeseen possibility of a three-way tie for third, a previous report that BU clinched home ice for the Hockey East quarterfinals was incorrect. This blog, the BU athletic department and Hockey East all stated before this weekend that the Terriers could clinch home ice with three points. However, a member of the athletic department discovered after tonight’s game that that was not true. Maine’s sweep of Merrimack this weekend means there is a possibility that BU, Merrimack and Maine could finish in a three-way tie for third that would leave the Terriers as the five seed and put them on the road for the quarterfinals. Here’s how:
Right now, BU is third with 34 points, Merrimack is fourth with 33 and Maine is fifth with 30. If BU gets swept by Northeastern next weekend, Merrimack takes just one point from Providence and Maine sweeps Massachusetts, the three teams would end up tied for third with 34 points apiece.
The first tiebreaker in that scenario is head-to-head against the other teams involved in the tie. All three are .500 against the other two combined, so that doesn’t get us anywhere. The next tiebreaker is wins in league play. Merrimack and Maine would both have 15, while BU would only have 14. Therefore, the Terriers would be the five seed. Maine would be the three because it won the season series against Merrimack, meaning BU would play at Merrimack in the quarterfinals.
There’s a very slim chance of all that happening, but just to reiterate, the Terriers DID NOT clinch home ice tonight.