ORONO, Maine – It will be a merry Christmas break for the No. 11/12 Boston University men’s hockey team. After struggling to win back-to-back games in the early part of the fall semester, the Terriers (10-5-1, 8-4-1 Hockey East) topped the University of Maine, 5-1, via four third-period goals on Saturday to complete a streak in which they have won seven of their last eight games.
Senior forward Corey Trivino and sophomore forward Sahir Gill both recorded the first multi-goal games of their careers, and freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera potted his first goal in a BU jersey. Senior goaltender Kieran Millan also set a new career saves record, topping former Terrier Sean Fields’ 3,055 career saves when the former recorded 3,057 by the end of Saturday’s game.
“The puck went in the net for us,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We had some great opportunities before that. I thought that through the first and second, we had a couple power plays that might have been good opportunities.
“I thought we played extremely well from start to finish, and we found the net in the third period. It certainly wasn’t a 4-1 game, or whatever it was [the entire time].”
Indeed, through the first two periods, it seemed as if the game could go either way. Both sides had multiple opportunities in the first period, but neither team could find the back of the net. BU’s best chance of the frame came in the waning minutes, when junior forward Wade Megan carried the puck into the offensive zone on a shorthanded 2-on-0 with sophomore forward Charlie Coyle. Megan attempted to go five-hole, but was denied by Maine (6-7-2, 5-6-1 Hockey East) goalie Dan Sullivan.
In the second period, the Terriers found themselves in trouble when junior assistant captain Justin Courtnall was ejected on a hit-to-the-head penalty 6:02 into the period. The Black Bears capitalized when sophomore Mark Anthoine beat Millan from the left hatch marks at 8:02.
But just six seconds after taking a 1-0 lead, Maine lost its second-leading scorer and captain, senior Brian Flynn, when he was ejected for hitting Coyle from behind.
“The fact that they lost [Flynn], their best player, that’s a huge loss for them,” Parker said. “Power play, first line, he’s a key, key guy. We lost Courtnall, who is important to us, but nowhere near as important on the score sheet or amount of ice time.
“So they got the worst of that deal. Flynn is a terrific player.”
At 17:43, Maine junior Mike Cornell was sent to the box for a high stick, giving the Terriers a 4-on-3 power play. Trivino tied the game when Sullivan failed to take care of a puck off a shot from junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson. Trivino found the rebound and tapped it into the net off Sullivan’s back, tying the game at 1-1 at 18:23 in the second.
The Terriers took the lead 6:11 into the third period on another power-play tally. Maine junior Joey Diamond was sent to the box on a boarding call, and toward the end of the man advantage, sophomore defenseman Adam Clendening launched a slap shot from the point that Gill tipped past Sullivan.
“Clendening sees everybody all the time, so if you play with him, you better be alert because he’s like Bob Cousy out there,” Parker said. “You better be awake because if you aren’t, you’ll get hit by the ball. He can really find people. He’s having a terrific year.”
Despite Gill’s go-ahead tally, the game remained close until the Terriers widened the scoring gap in the final 10 minutes. Trivino potted his second goal of the night and put the Terriers up 3-1 when he deflected a Clendening shot between the post and Sullivan. The goal was briefly reviewed to ensure that Trivino had not kicked the puck in before it was officially ruled a good goal.
“It actually hit me in the thigh,” Trivino said. “I was just trying to whack it while it was in the air and luckily it just crossed the goal line. The only thing I was questioning was maybe they’re looking at if it hit my glove, but I was pretty sure it just hit my thigh.”
Privitera extended the BU lead to 4-1 slightly more than three minutes after Trivino’s second goal when he took a pass from freshman forward Cason Hohmann and backhanded it past Sullivan. Gill iced the win with an empty-net goal 17:21 into the frame.
The slew of goals from the Terriers in the third period was an especially welcome sign considering the Terriers have been known in the past as a team that sits on its leads.
“That’s part of our game that we kind of wanted to change,” Trivino said of previous third-period blunders. “Third period, it came [down] to who won that third period tonight, so we made sure that we were focused and came out ready to play.
“I’m just happy with the way we ended up this semester. We’re looking like a pretty big threat in the league. I’ll go home for Christmas, rest up and come back even more hungry.”