After posting back-to-back 7-2 routs of the University of Michigan and the University of Vermont, the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team proved not only that it can win on the road, but that it can win coming from behind.
Despite trailing 3-1 midway through the second period and 4-3 late in the third, the Terriers knocked off the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, 6-4, Friday at Tsongas Arena thanks to sophomore forward Colin Wilson’s game-winning wrist shot with 14.5 seconds left in regulation.
After two periods of back-and-forth, sloppy hockey, Lowell (3-3-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East) and BU (6-1-0, 3-1-0) combined for five third-period goals ‘-‘- three of which were scored by the Terriers with less than two minutes remaining.
‘Both teams were playing pretty well,’ BU coach Jack Parker said. ‘We both have the exact same look out there as far as the style we play, and the game was going the way I thought it would go.’
Through the first two periods, BU failed to move the puck effectively. Where quick and precise passing had been a strength for the team in their last four games, the Terriers struggled to find passing lanes against the River Hawks.
‘It wasn’t a good night for us as far as moving the puck. We were way too much in a hurry,’ Parker said.
With just five set cycles in the offensive zone through the first period and a half, BU generated little in the way of offensive rhythm. Caught chasing Lowell’s speed, the Terriers allowed the River Hawks to dictate the pace of play through the neutral zone.
‘We were rattled a little bit sometimes with the puck,’ Parker said. ‘The rink is a tough rink because it’s so small, the corners are so small coming out of the zone. This is a very quick team, so you have to move the puck quickly. We were carrying the puck too much, and we turned the puck over more [Friday] than we have all year.’
The most costly turnover for the Terriers came at the 14-minute mark of the third period. With the score tied at three, Wilson, stationed at the half-boards in the defensive end, flipped the puck behind him toward linemate Jason Lawrence.
With Lawrence caught between Wilson and the crease, Lowell’s Mark Roebothan intercepted the loose puck and flipped it toward the net. Freshman goaltender Kieran Millan sprawled to make the initial save, but senior forward Mike Potacco scraped the rebound over the goal line to give the River Hawks a one-goal advantage.
‘I thought when we came back to tie it up that we would win the game, and then all of a sudden Wilson made a turnover, they made a great play, got the rebound and scored,’ Parker said.
Accepting full responsibility for the lapse in judgment, Wilson rallied the Terriers in the final three minutes, assisting on senior forward Chris Higgins’ game-tying goal with 2:14 left to play before the Nashville Predator draftee beat UML goaltender T.J. Massie to the glove side for the game-winner with 14.5 seconds remaining.
For a Terrier team that had little trouble disposing of its competition over the last week, Friday’s come-from-behind win plays an important role in defining the young team’s makeup.
‘It’s a big win for us,’ Parker said. ‘[The guys] have got to feel good about themselves. They’ve got to feel good about what happened between the pipes for them. They’ve got to feel happy they have the talent that they can dig a little deeper and make something happen.
‘We snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat.’