The Boston University men’s hockey team was 56 seconds away from tying its longest win streak of the season, but the University of Connecticut had other ideas.
The Terriers (12-11-8, 9-7-5 Hockey East) erased a two-goal deficit in the second period to go up 3-2 until the final minute of regulation, when senior forward Benjamin Freeman tucked in a rebound for the Huskies (14-13-4, 11-8-2 Hockey East) to send the game into overtime at the XL Center.
Freeman played provider 19 seconds into the additional frame, setting up senior forward Alexander Payusov off of a BU defensive-zone turnover to knock in a game-winning goal from just outside the crease.
BU head coach Albie O’Connell was happy with how his team played on the night, but couldn’t help but feel like his Terriers let two crucial Hockey East points slip away.
“It’s kind of like your legs got pulled out from under you,” O’Connell said. “You’ve got to play the full 60 [minutes].”
UConn had the early lead thanks to a pair of scores in the opening 20 minutes from sophomore forwards Carter Turnbull and Kale Howarth, converting two of UConn’s 15 first-period shots.
Freshman defenseman Case McCarthy got BU on the board 4:26 into the second period and sophomore forward Jack DeBoer tied it up off of freshman forward Robert Mastrosimone’s slick assist six minutes later.
Junior defenseman Cam Crotty fired the Terriers in front with 2:25 to play in the middle frame, and the assistant captain’s tally stood as the deciding goal through 19 minutes in the third before UConn turned the tables.
O’Connell was pleased with BU’s second-period effort and much of its third-period performance, but the hosts’ late push was enough to swing the result in their favor.
“I really liked the way we played,” O’Connell said. “Sometimes you end up on the wrong side of it. It’s an unfortunate outcome, but that’s hockey.”
Graduate goaltender Sam Tucker took the BU crease for his third consecutive start, making 26 saves and only facing 15 shots in the final 40 minutes of play. Sophomore netminder Tomas Vomacka made 23 stops for the Huskies.
Falling back in the Hockey East race with Boston College and the University of Maine both victorious on Friday night, BU will look to split the series with UConn on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.