By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — It may have been difficult to imagine the Boston University men’s hockey team (15-6-1, 12-4-1 Hockey East) turning in a better performance than they had in their 6-1 win over Providence College (9-11-2, 7-7-1 HE) at Agganis Arena on Friday night, but the very next night, they managed to do so with a 8-0 victory over the Friars in Providence. The Terriers went 6-for-9 on the power play and got two goals each from sophomore forward Sahir Gill and junior forward Wade Megan in their most lopsided win of the year.
“We have a saying in our offices that it’s amazing what can be accomplished when nobody’s worried about who gets the credit, and this team is worried about playing right,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “They were so unselfish tonight with the puck and so unselfish moving the puck and trying to make the next right play that it just looked like a real good team tonight. I don’t mean winning or losing, I mean coming together as a team and really caring about each other.”
If there was any suspicion that BU’s four-goal third period against the Friars the previous night had been a fluke, the Terriers erased it quickly when they put up three goals in the first period on Saturday. Sophomore forward Matt Nieto recorded his 10th goal of the year at 4:39 on the power play to open the scoring, and junior defenseman Max Nicastro followed a few minutes later with a blast from the top of the right circle.
When BU’s next power-play chance came late in the period, they set up shop in the Friars’ zone again, and after Nieto had a second chance on a Nicastro shot from the point, it was Gill who flipped the next rebound past Providence goalie Alex Beaudry to give BU a 3-0 lead. As on Friday, the Terriers were outshot in the first frame, 11-8, but maximized the chances they did have.
Even with a three-goal lead, BU continued to pressure the Friars in the second, allowing just four shots on senior goalie Kieran Millan in the period. Although they recorded just eight shots in the frame again, they made Providence pay for an increasing lack of discipline with three more power-play goals.
Sophomore defenseman Garrett Noonan scored on a rebound at 11:01 to make it 4-0 and extend his goals streak to three games, and Gill put away his second of the night and ninth of the year when he tracked down an Alexx Privitera slap shot that bounced off the boards and knocked it past Beaudry.
“I think sometimes selfishness comes in when it’s 4-0 and people want to get their goal, and they start playing on the offensive side of the puck and they start playing to try to get a goal, they’re not as thorough,” Parker said. “I think it’s even more rewarding when you’re really thorough when you’re up 6-0.”
When Providence defenseman Myles Harvey went off for boarding at 15:35 of the second, it was Megan’s turn to cash in, flipping a loose puck over Beaudry to make it 6-0. Megan struck again early in the third period, this time with a backhand shot from close range after Beaudry had been pulled for backup Justin Gates.
Junior forward Alex Chiasson put the icing on the cake, firing a slap shot past Gates from the point with less than three minutes remaining in the game. The goal was originally credited to senior forward Ross Gaudet, who appeared to deflect it in front of the net, but after the game it was recorded as Chiasson’s eighth of the year.
Eleven different players recorded points as the Terriers solidified their hold on first place in Hockey East. But overshadowed by the offensive explosion – the biggest margin of victory BU has had in a shutout since beating Northeastern 8-0 on Feb. 14, 1994 – was the fact that Millan quietly recorded his third shutout of the season, stopping 26 shots.
“He made some big saves early and then the late ones, we took a couple penalties and he had to make a couple saves to preserve his own shutout, and the way he did that, I was really happy that he got the recognition,” Parker said.
Noonan echoed Parker’s sentiments, saying that playing for Millan’s shutout helped keep the team focused throughout the game despite the score.
“You’d just hear everyone say, we want to get the shutout for Kieran because of how much he helped us out through the year, and that’s basically what we were doing it for, to get him that shutout,” Noonan said.