By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
In the first of two matchups this weekend between the No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team and No. 20 University of Maine, it got a bit darker than normal – literally during the second period at Agganis Arena and figuratively in terms of the host team’s win streak.
Following a 21-minute delay in the second period due to several Agganis Arena lights losing power, the Black Bears (13-8-3, 10-7-2 Hockey East) ended up with a 4-2 win, their third straight, ending what was a five-game win streak for the Terriers (15-7-1, 12-5-1 Hockey East).
The first period was a quick one, as the two most highly penalized teams in Hockey East almost managed to stay out of the box for the entire period. That streak ended at 16:52 into the frame when Maine defenseman Will O’Neill, one of two Black Bear captains, put a late hit on freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera, who injured his wrist on the play.
Privitera stayed on the ice while a team trainer tended to him, and soon skated off under his on power, albeit still holding his right wrist. He did not return to the game, and BU coach Jack Parker said he “may have a broken wrist.”
The Terriers didn’t take long to capitalize on the resulting power play. Junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson banged a one-timer by Maine goaltender Dan Sullivan for a 1-0 BU lead at 17:56, the result of a junior forward Wade Megan pass from behind the red line. Senior captain Chris Connolly was credited with the second assist, extending his point streak to six games.
The goal helped the Terriers to a 7-for-10 showing on the man-advantage in what was then their last four periods of play. That power-play chance, however, was the only chance they would get the entire game. The Black Bears, who are second behind BU as the most penalized team in the nation, did not have to play a man down the rest of the way.
Maine struck back on the power play following a hooking call on freshman forward Evan Rodrigues shortly into the second period. With just seconds left on the power play, Maine forward Adam Shemansky took advantage of a Max Nicastro miscue – a pass that didn’t make it out of BU’s defensive zone – to tie the game at one apiece 5:15 into the second.
Several minutes later, at 8:22, the Black Bears took the lead when forward John Parker – no relation to the BU bench boss – beat the Terrier defense and senior goaltender Kieran Millan stick-side to help Maine to a 2-1 lead.
Right after the goal, several lights in the arena went out and apparently took Maine’s momentum with them. The teams returned to the ice following a 21-minute delay, and an pparently rejuvenated BU came right back to make it a 2-2 tie. Following a strong effort to keep the puck in BU’s offensive end, junior forward Ross Gaudet took a shot from behind the red line, bouncing it off Sullivan’s back and into the goal at 12:38.
“[Junior forward Ben Rosen] made a nice pass to [junior forward Ryan Santana] and [Santana] shot the puck,” Gaudet said. “The rebound bounced in towards the corner where I was standing below the goal line, and their goalie was out pretty far, so I had a pretty good angle just to bank it right off the side of his body.”
Maine re-took the lead for good 10:08 into the third thanks to a goal from forward Mark Anthoine. The tally came 12 seconds after Megan was called for hooking, giving the Black Bears’ league-best power play (29.7 percent entering the game) another chance. The call seemed to anger both Megan, who protested all the way to the box, and Parker, who spent some time yelling his thoughts about it into the referee’s ear after the call and goal.
“The only thing that counts is what the referee thinks,” Parker said of that call after the game.
Down a goal with 2:09 left in the game, Parker pulled Millan in favor of an extra attacker, but it didn’t pay off. Maine forward Spencer Abbott, Hockey East’s leading scorer (13 goals, 27 assists), extended his team’s lead to 4-2 with an empty-netter at 18:26.
“They just played harder than we did today,” Gaudet said. “We didn’t play as hard as we needed to play. They’re one of the hottest teams in the country for a reason, and we didn’t bring the level of intensity that we needed to compete with them tonight.
“We weren’t physical enough; we didn’t win enough battles. In the end it showed.”