Looking to return to winning ways after a devastating late loss to Quinnipiac, the BU men’s hockey team broke out for three unanswered goals in the third period to down Merrimack, 7-2.
Freshman Chase Gresock got the Warriors (7-17-1, 4-11 Hockey East) on the board first with a goal immediately from a faceoff win by senior Derek Petti just over eight minutes into the game. It was the third straight game that saw the Terriers (9-9-3, 8-5-2 Hockey East) go down early, having fallen behind by two goals in the first period against both Providence and Quinnipiac.
However, as they did against both the Friars and Bobcats, the Terriers would respond well to the early deficit. At 14:34, David Farrance powered in a shot from the point on the power play to knot the game up at one. It was the sophomore’s third goal of the season, with assists from juniors Patrick Harper and Patrick Curry.
“Just get the next goal” was the mantra Farrance identified as his team’s key to coming back after conceding first.
With less than a minute remaining in the first period, BU would earn the lead through senior Ryan Cloonan with the assist credited to sophomore Cam Crotty. In a frenzy in front of the net, it was Cloonan who jammed the puck in to give the Terriers the advantage at the break, tallying his first goal of the season.
“It was a sigh of relief,” joked Cloonan about finally scoring his first as a senior.
Not only was it the first tally of Cloonan’s 2018-19 season, but it was also his first since his freshman campaign. Still, BU head coach Albie O’Connell has been impressed by the play of the Massachusetts native.
“He’s played really well in the second half, and for the most part, all year”, commented the first-year manager.
In the second frame, BU doubled their lead through a shorthanded goal by graduate student Max Willman at 9:39. The former Brown University Bear showed impressive speed to escape Warrior defense, and made a nifty move to pot his first goal of the season.
“He scored a really nice goal,” commended Coach O’Connell. “Hopefully that gives him a little bit of confidence.”
With Willman and linemate Cloonan both scoring their first goals of the season, Coach O’Connell seemed optimistic about the potential for the two veterans to contribute offensively down the stretch.
“[Those were] two guys with no goals, now they have a goal each, and hopefully that can springboard those guys and give us some more scoring.”
Junior Patrick Harper would make the BU lead three at 13:17 in the period, attacking a loose puck just outside the Merrimack crease for his second goal of the campaign. Only 20 seconds later, Merrimack freshman Logan Drevitch would negate the Harper goal with a breakaway effort to send the teams into the final intermission at 4-2.
The game became a rout in the third, as BU tacked on three goals in nine minutes to seal the victory. Junior Dante Fabbro kicked off the onslaught with a rocket on the power play for his fifth of the season, assisted by junior Chad Krys and freshman Joel Farabee.
Just four minutes later, Farabee assisted again, banking a pass off Merrimack netminder Craig Pantano and into position for sophomore Shane Bowers to net his ninth of the campaign. After four more minutes, David Farrance fired in his second of the game to cap off the victory for BU, assisted by junior Patrick Harper and sophomore Kasper Kotkansalo.
With his third and fourth goals of the season, Farrance has already surpassed his total posted in his freshman campaign.
“I think I just have a lot more experience now”, said the sophomore. “the game is coming a little easier.”
The 7-2 BU victory was a far cry from the 4-0 thrashing the Terriers took at the hands of the Warriors back in October.
“Tonight they had their legs, and we had trouble keeping up”, remarked Merrimack coach Scott Borek.
From BU’s perspective, it was exactly the performance the Terriers needed to rebound from a heartbreaking loss against Quinnipiac two nights before.
“They gave a good effort and played pretty physical tonight,” said O’Connell. “It was big.”
The Terriers will return to the ice on Friday night as they host a weekend series against Arizona State (16-9-1) in their final nonconference fixtures of the campaign, excluding the Beanpot.