By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- A late flurry of goals lifted the No. 12 Boston University men’s hockey team over No. 5/6 University of North Dakota on Saturday night, 4-2. The Terriers trailed 2-1 with less than six minutes to go, but they scored three times in the game’s last 5:21 to pick up a series split on the road.
In front of a crowd of 11,977, freshman goalie Matt O’Connor made 26 saves for his fourth win, and freshman wing Matt Lane scored the game-winner with 1:50 left to play. This was BU’s first-ever win in Grand Forks.
“Obviously, it was huge for Coach [Jack Parker],” junior forward Matt Nieto said. “It was his first win in this building. That meant a lot for us and for him.”
The Terriers found themselves in a hole just over five minutes into the game. UND wing Stephane Pattyn picked up a BU turnover in the neutral zone, drove down the wing and shot the puck off the glass. The rebound came back into the crease, hit O’Connor’s skate and wound up in the net.
Seconds before the end of the period, junior defenseman Garrett Noonan was penalized for diving while BU was on a 5-on-3. Noonan was in front of the net when a North Dakota player shoved him, and the fall he took – arms and legs flailing – drew the referees’ attention.
“If you look at the film, that guy cross-checked him right in the head,” Parker said. “And then there was no call, so he tried to embellish it. It should have been two for cross-checking and two for embellishment. But that has got to get out of our game and it has never been in our game. We don’t want it to be a part of BU hockey.”
Noonan’s penalty didn’t hurt BU on the scoreboard, though. After Pattyn came out of the box to make it a 4-on-4 early in the second period, senior captain Wade Megan flipped a wrist shot over freshman goalie Zane Gothberg’s left shoulder to tie the game 1-1.
Senior Danny Kristo gave North Dakota the lead back halfway through the second. When Nieto failed to control the puck behind the Terrier net, UND senior Corban Knight took it instead and found Kristo wide open in the slot. Kristo had several seconds to size O’Connor up and eventually shot five-hole for the goal.
A sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera miscue at the offensive blue line led to a breakaway for UND’s Brendan O’Donnell, but O’Connor sprawled out to make the save. Shortly afterward, BU was penalized again in the waning moments of the second period. This time it was Nieto, who was called for hooking, but the Terrier penalty kill, which entered the game with an 85.2 percent success rate, prevailed again.
“The big turning point, obviously, was the breakaway stop,” Parker said. “To start the third period and go out and kill that penalty was big, to not make it go to 3-1.”
Although BU’s puck possession improved in the third, it could not solve Gothberg until Nieto did it with 5:21 remaining in the game. Freshman center Danny O’Regan fed him the pass, and Nieto ripped a wrister into the top of the net to tie the game.
Lane broke the tie with his first collegiate goal. After a minute of prolonged pressure in BU’s zone from UND, freshman forward Sam Kurker managed to dump the puck into UND’s zone so the third line could come on. Lane took a pass from Privitera as he drove to the net and snapped a wrist shot over Gothberg into almost the same spot Nieto had hit minutes earlier.
Then it was O’Regan’s turn, just 11 seconds later. BU won the faceoff, and O’Regan came up with the puck in the slot, dragged it around Gothberg and slid it into an open net to make the final score 4-2.
“We knew we were going to be a better team coming out of this weekend than coming in,” Parker said. “I think this gives us a big boost.”