By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
In yet another game that went down to the wire, Matt Nieto played the hero as his tally in overtime helped the No.12/13 Boston University men’s hockey team over the University of Massachusetts, 5-4 on Saturday night at Agganis Arena.
Once again, the Terriers came out strong in the first minute of the game, then tailed off as the period continued. It did not help that UMass seized the opportunities BU started handing to them as the period continued.
The Minutemen scored their first goal of the night at 10:34 when BU goaltender Grant Rollheiser struggled to cover a loose puck sitting in front of him. Minuteman Steven Guzzo beat Rollheiser’s glove to the puck and put it away before Rollheiser could make the stop.
A BU defensive mishap led to the second Minuteman goal of the night, as junior defenseman Ryan Ruikka attempted to clear a puck, but it took a weird bounce off the boards instead and landed at Rollheiser’s feet. The goalie could not find the puck before UMass forward Troy Power slipped it past him five-hole.
The Minutemen closed the period with a third goal, which came off a turnover right in front of the net by sophomore forward Charlie Coyle. UMass forward Conor Sheary seized his opportunity and fired a wrister past Rollheiser to make it 3-0 with 30 seconds remaining in the period.
The Minutemen continued to control play into the second period, but the tide seemed to turn when the Terriers killed off 1:05 of a 5-on-3 almost halfway into the period.
BU started to win battles for loose pucks, block shots better and stay out of the penalty box. Their efforts paid off when the Terriers finally found the back of the net at 14:19 into the second. Senior forward Corey Trivino sent a cross-ice pass through traffic to sophomore defenseman Garrett Noonan, who roofed a shot past UMass netminder Jeff Teglia. Freshman forward Evan Rodrigues was credited with his first career assist on the play.
The Terriers shortened the Minutemen lead to one just over a minute later, when sophomore forward Sahir Gill banged home a rebound off a Max Nicastro shot from the high slot to make it a 3-2 game.
BU tied the game in the third when Coyle forced a turnover on the penalty kill at the blue line in his own zone, then pushed the puck up to Nieto. Coyle and Nieto raced into the zone with Nieto carrying the puck on the 2-on-1. He passed to Coyle at the last moment, and Coyle slapped it past Teglia glove-side to make it a 3-3 game with just over 10 minutes remaining.
The Terriers took the lead a little over two minutes later when senior captain Chris Connolly circled behind the UMass net and passed across the crease to Trivino, who lifted the puck over Teglia’s glove to give the Terriers a 4-3 lead.
But Coyle helped cause another UMass goal, as he took a roughing penalty shortly after Trivino’s goal to put BU on the penalty kill. The Terriers struggled to clear the puck out, and UMass finally cashed in when Mike Pereira put a rebound off a Phillips shot away to tie the game at four.