The hockey hasn’t been pretty of late for Boston University, especially not at home. Entering Tuesday night’s game against No. 17 Merrimack, BU hadn’t won in five games at Agganis Arena, its longest home winless streak since 1971.
That all ended, as No. 19 BU notched five straight goals to start the game, finishing with a 5-2 win over Merrimack in the teams’ 100th all-time meeting. It was a start for BU, as the team hopes to turn its season around in the final stretch of the season.
“As I told my team, it was nice to get a W,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “It was nice to get a W at home. It was nice to get some goals.”
BU was 2-7-2 in its last 11 games. That was the worst stretch for the Terriers since 2004, and pushed BU into sixth place in Hockey East. But even with the unimpressive play, BU’s season isn’t entirely lost, helped significantly by the win Tuesday night, given how bunched the teams are at the top of the conference.
“We hadn’t been getting any puck bounces,” Parker said. “We got a few tonight.”
BU has 26 points and, though the Terriers remain in sixth place, they are just 2 points behind the four-way tie for first place — between Boston College, UMass-Lowell, New Hampshire, and Providence, all of which have 28. The loss put Merrimack a point behind that group with 27.
“One point out of first with four left,” Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said in a news conference that lasted less than two minutes. “Couldn’t be more excited.”
With a series of breakaways and off-balance shots, the Terriers came away with only their second win in a month. It meant that BU had swept the season series against Merrimack, the only Hockey East team to have done that.
“I don’t know that we’ve played great against BU yet this year,” Dennehy said. “I think they’ve done a pretty good job against us. Maybe we just bring out the best in them.”
With just four games left in the regular season, BU has a chance to make up some ground. Three of its final four games are at home after Tuesday’s, which was rescheduled from earlier in the month because of the blizzard.
“We talked about, hey, we’ve got four out of our five games at home at the end of the season here,” Parker said of discussions with his team before the game. “If you want to make home ice, you’re going to have to win these games. At least we’re 1-0 right now.”
The scoring started at 9:47 of the first period, with Evan Rodrigues netting the goal, and continued less than two minutes later when Wade Megan took a feed, faked around Merrimack’s Quinn Gould, and fired the puck in.
The puck sneaked past Merrimack goalie Sam Marotta again in the first period, when he left the right side empty for Cason Hohmann at 15:41.
Marotta didn’t get to try again in the second period, having been pulled for Rasumus Tirronen.
Not that Tirronen did much better. Matt Nieto got two in the second, putting BU up by five, and making it unlikely that Merrimack would be able to come back.
The Warriors certainly tried, getting two quick goals in the third. But BU came out with a needed win.
“I think one of the things that has been a problem for us is that we’ve been playing games trying not to lose,” Parker said. “I don’t think we went out here tonight trying not to lose. We went out trying to win tonight.”