By Jake Seiner
Daily Free Press Staff
The Boston University men’s hockey team entered Saturday’s contest with the No. 15 University of Massachusetts with a disastrous 4-9-3 start to their season in the rearview mirror.
By game’s end, the Terrier’s were driving full speed to a turnaround for their season, knocking off the Minutemen 7-3 at Agganis Arena.
The Terriers (5-9-3, 3-7-2 Hockey East) got multi-point efforts from six players, headlined by multi-goal performances from Colby (2 goals, 2 assists) and Zach Cohen (2g, 1a). Junior captain Kevin Shattenkirk picked up three assists, while sophomore Vinny Saponari and freshman Max Nicastro added two helpers of their own.
Junior Nick Bonino, freshman Alex Chiasson and senior Eric Gryba added goals of their own.
UMass (11-7-0, 6-4-0) was led by sophomore Casey Wellman (1g, 1a), senior Justin Braun (2a) and junior James Marcou (2a).
The Terriers were bolstered by a 3-for-6 effort on the power play, while they held UMass to three man-up goals on twelve power-play chances.
"Some guys came up big for us and had big nights and we need those guys to do that," BU coach Jack Parker said. "In general it was a pretty good team effort. We got good goaltending. We played strong in our own zone, didn't give up a lot of shots, and we didn't have the massive breakdown where we let a guy walk in all alone or walk in from the corner."
The BU power play gave BU a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. Working at the bottom of the left circle, C. Cohen one-timed a pass from Shattenkirk on net. UMass netminder Paul Dainton made the initial save, but Bonino found the rebound on the right side of the crease and poked it home for his fifth goal of the season. C. Cohen and Shattenkirk were credited with assists.
About four minutes later, UMass winger T.J. Syner knotted the score at one after Wellman’s shot at net bounced off the skate of BU freshman defenseman Sean Escobedo and skidded to Syner’s feet. Syner took a big whack at the puck, and caught just enough to slide the disc past BU netminder Kieran Millan’s outstretched left leg and over the goal line.
With 52.3 seconds left, the BU power play again struck gold when Chiasson picked up a loose puck and wheeled into the high slot. Chiasson fired a slap shot from between the top of the circles at net, where Cohen was waiting with a textbook screen. Dainton never saw the puck, and Chiasson picked up his fifth goal of the season –– and third against UMass this year.
Midway through the second, Z. Cohen extended BU’s lead to 3-1 when he took in a pass at the left post of the UMass net. Z. Cohen deked behind the cage and turned a wrap-around attempt back into the UMass crease. The shot slid under Dainton’s left leg then bounced off his right and slid back into the cage. It was Z. Cohen’s team-leading seventh goal of the season, and Chiasson and Escobedo picked up assists.
Z. Cohen added his eighth goal of the season on another power-play tally early in the third when he tipped home a Corey Trivino one-timer.
Following consecutive penalties taken by Gryba and sophomore Ross Gaudet, UMass converted on a 5-on-3 opportunity and brought BU’s lead back down to one. Senior Braun, working from the right point, flicked a pass to Wellman at the left faceoff dot. Wellman wound and one-timed a laser that beat a sliding Millan top-shelf, right over the goalie’s right shoulder. It was Wellman’s 16th goal of the season, bringing him within one of Michigan State junior Corey Tropp’s nation-leading total.
With 8.5 seconds left in the second, C. Cohen extended the Terriers’ lead back to two goals with a one-timer that beat a sliding Dainton low gloveside. Saponari and Shattenkirk were credited with assists.
BU extended the lead to three goals with yet another power-play tally early in the third when sophomore Corey Trivino teed up a one-timer from the right point that was tipped in by Z. Cohen in front.
Gryba scored his goal while clearing a puck during a 5-on-3 power play for UMass in the third period. UMass pulled Dainton from the net, making it de facto 6-on-3 advantage, but Grya took advantage by burying a goal from beneath the circles in the BU zone.
The team's collected a combined 20 penalties, with 13 being called on the Terriers –– four on sophomore Ross Gaudet alone.
"I thought the referees called it real, real tight for half the game –– the half they were watching us," BU coach Jack Parker said. "I didn't mind any of our calls. You want to call those penalties, then I can't believe there weren't other calls made, but they didn't see it that way. The amount of penalties that were called, and the types of penalties that were called were very, very tight on us."