By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff
The No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team did not play like a well-oiled machine Friday night against Rensselaer Polytechnic University, but an overtime goal from sophomore forward Cason Hohmann helped the Terriers past the Engineers, 3-2, at Agganis Arena.
The Terriers (11-6, 8-4, Hockey East) continued their sluggish play from their 6-0 loss to the University of Denver in the first two periods of the game, but used a strong third period and overtime frame to come back and get their first win of 2013.
“I told [RPI coach Seth Appert] after the game if there was any justice they would’ve won this game,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “They played better than us in the first two periods, they had better chances, they were bumping us, they played harder. We were dipsy-doodling around. We still looked like we were in Denver.”
The Engineers (6-8-4) got on the board first with a quick play off a faceoff in BU’s zone. After RPI center Jacob Laliberte won a faceoff to his left, forward Ryan Haggerty snapped his seventh goal of the season between freshman goaltender Sean Maguire’s legs to give RPI a 1–0 lead 10 minutes into the first period.
BU answered just over five minutes later, though, with the fourth line doing the damage. Freshman forward Mike Moran picked the puck up along the right boards and drove it hard to the goal from a sharp angle. His initial chance was pushed into the slot, where senior forward Ryan Santana found it and fired it top corner.
The play was reviewed, as the referees initially thought Moran had interfered with RPI goaltender Bryce Merriam, but the goal stood as Santana’s first of the season. It was the Yorba Linda, Calif., native’s fifth goal of his career.
The game remained tied until the second period, when RPI found the back of the net again. After a strong BU penalty kill, the Engineers grabbed a bit of momentum and finally capitalized on it when forward C.J. Lee found the lower left corner on a shot from the slot. It was the senior’s second goal of the season.
RPI outplayed the Terriers through the first two periods, but BU came out of the locker room with an extra jump in its step for the third period. Part of the jump in performance had to do with Parker shaking up the line combinations and only using three forward lines, as Santana moved up to the third line and junior forward Matt Nieto moved up to replace freshman forward Wesley Myron on the first line.
The Terriers finally scored again 5:30 into the third when junior forward Sahir Gill found a rebound in front of the goal. Junior defenseman Garrett Noonan set up the play with a nice cut to the slot, and his backhanded shot set up the rebound for Gill. It was Gill’s third goal on the season.
That goal pushed the game to overtime, and it took just less than three minutes for Hohmann to score the game-winner from Gill and junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor. Hohmann waited with the puck and looked for the pass before snapping the puck into the top right corner for the game-winning goal.
While Nieto did not get a point for the game-winning goal, Hohmann and Parker credited him as a big part of the play thanks to his hard drive to the net on the two-on-one.
“Kudos to him,” Hohmann said. “He took the guy with him. The guy slid on the ice and I just waited it out and waited it out and the goalie just gave me the whole top corner. Luckily it went in.”
Merriam had a strong game for RPI, stopping 38 of 41 shots. Maguire was also solid at the other end, making 26 saves. The freshman is now 3–0 at Agganis Arena and allowed his first two goals at home in Friday night’s win.
“I thought our goaltender played very well,” Parker said. “He likes playing in Agganis Arena obviously. He’s played very well here.”
Friday also marked the debut of senior forward Jake Moscatel, who was a plus-1 in his first game as a Terrier. He played on the fourth line, which Parker said helped carry the team through the first two periods.
“[Moscatel] played hard, he bumped guys, he made nice plays, he got the puck out of the zone,” Parker said. “He did all the things you like a fourth liner to do, and he was very noticeable in a positive way.”