Now in the home stretch of the 2009 season, the No.1 Boston University men’s ice hockey team split a weekend series with the University of Maine, winning Friday night’s contest, 7-2, before settling for a 2-2 tie Saturday.
The Terriers, fresh off their 29th Beanpot title, got strong weekend performances from sophomores Colin Wilson and Nick Bonino.
Bonino, who hoisted the Beanpot Tournament MVP award after the Terriers’ 5-2 win over Northeastern University in the championship game, salvaged a point for BU by scoring with 4:09 left in Saturday’s nightcap.
‘He’s playing better,’ senior co-captain John McCarthy said of Bonino. ‘He’s scoring goals again, controlling it down low, and making the passes he needs to make. The second power-play unit is really starting to get going.’
Wilson aided his Hobey Baker cause by adding a hat trick to his extensive resume, dropping three goals and an assist on the Black Bears on Friday night.
Wilson scored the opening goal for BU in each period Friday night, getting the Terriers’ momentum going by scoring 16 seconds into the game.
‘He’s been playing well lately, scoring goals and putting stuff together on the power play,’ McCarthy said. ‘He got us started in the first few seconds of the game and kept us going with a goal to start each period. The whole team kind of sensed that, and everyone got rolling.’
Perhaps the most notable story for the Terriers this weekend came in the goal, as freshman goalie Grant Rollheiser shook off the cobwebs and provided a strong effort in net.
Playing in his first full game since Jan. 13, Rollheiser stopped 19 shots Saturday night, including four in the extra frame.
This weekend marked the first time Rollheiser and freshman Kieran Millan have split a weekend series since the Terriers dropped two games at home to the University of Vermont in late November. Having BU coach Jack Parker’s goalie rotation back in order gives the Terriers an added breath of confidence.
‘I think it was good for Millan to get a break,’ McCarthy said. ‘I think he was getting a little mentally tired. [Rollheiser] came in and had a good weekend. He gave us a chance to win the game.’
Millan extended his unbeaten streak to 16 games Friday night. The rookie added to his NCAA-leading winning percentage, stopping 14 shots in 48 minutes on the ice before handing over the second half of the third period to Rollheiser. Millan is now 19-1-1 on the year.’
While the Terriers closed the gap on the Huskies for first place in Hockey East, Saturday’s tie with Maine can be seen as a missed opportunity of sorts.
Heading into this weekend’s rematch of the Beanpot finals, claiming the top spot in the division will be a point of emphasis throughout the week of practice.
‘If we had beaten Maine, we would have had [first place],’ McCarthy said. ‘We were unable to do that, but we put ourselves in a good position for this weekend. We’re within striking distance.
‘We’ve got to keep our attitude focused and get ourselves ready for this weekend. They’re going to be angry and ready to play.’