BU forced to bear down
Tenacious Brown leaves with a tie
Despite their close proximity to each other, it’s rare when Boston University and Brown square off in men’s hockey. Prior to last night, the last time the teams met was Nov. 21, 1997, at Walter Brown Arena.
Before the drop of the puck, BU coach Jack Parker referred to Brown as “the Merrimack of the ECAC,’’ referring to how hard the Bears work, how aggressive they play, and how they have emerged from relative obscurity to become a difficult opponent.
His assessment turned out to be dead on, as Brown (3-2-3) and second-ranked BU (7-1-5) skated to a 4-4 tie in front of 5,353 at Agganis Arena.
“They’ve been a cellar-dweller for a long time and now, all of a sudden, they’re a real good team and they’re playing very hard,’’ said Parker, whose team registered a season-high 42 shots on net. “They’ve got enough talent to beat you, but usually they beat you by outworking you, and they certainly tried to outwork us tonight. But I liked how hard we worked and how we kept after them.’’
Brown took an early 2-0 lead. At 1:25 of the opening period, Harry Zolnierczyk (goal, assist, and 27 penalty minutes) batted the puck down and Jesse Fratkin, who was trailing close behind, rapped it past BU goalie Kieran Millan (19 saves). Zolnierczyk then beat Millan on a backhander that went off Millan’s right pad and in at 3:01.
The Terriers battled back at 8:38. Freshman defenseman Garrett Noonan, who was at the top of the right circle, relayed the puck down to sophomore Ben Rosen, who was cutting to the net. Rosen took a shot that found a hole between the pads of Brown netminder Mike Clemente (38 saves) for his first collegiate goal.
At 4:48 of the second, BU pulled even during a two-on-one break. Joe Pereira put a heavy shot on Clemente from the left circle. The goalie stopped it but couldn’t corral it, and Pereira followed up his own shot, whacking at Clemente’s pads and knocking both the puck and Clemente into the net.
Brown got into penalty trouble in the period, which resulted in the Terriers’ go-ahead goal. During a five-on-three advantage, Alex Chiasson dished a pass to David Warsofsky, who was at the top of the left circle. Warsofsky’s one-timer was stopped, but Chiasson was there for the rebound, jamming it home from just outside the left circle at 9:24.
Brown tied it, 3-3, at 13:38 during a man advantage. Bobby Farnham fed Jack Maclellan in the slot, and Maclellan guided it past Millan.
The visitors scored their fourth goal at 2:24 of the third on a miscue behind the BU net. David Brownschidle took a shot that Millan saved, but then he gathered his own rebound and fired it behind the goalie.
BU got a real scare at 3:37 when freshman defenseman Adam Clendening was crushed by Zolnierczyk at center ice. Zolnierczyk, Brown’s captain, was assessed a five-minute major for kneeing and a disqualification, which is a one-game suspension. Clendening was helped off the ice by his teammates, favoring his left knee, but he did return after a few minutes.
The Terriers tied it at 12:51 when Wade Megan potted his second of the season. Warsofsky fired the puck from the left point. It missed the net, but came off the end boards and out the other side to Megan, who was just outside the right post. Megan shoveled it past Clemente for the goal.
“I thought we played very well for stretches of that game,’’ said Brown coach Brendan Whittet. “Our problem came from the fact that we had to kill off too many penalties, self-inflicted penalties that unfortunately taxed our depth. We have an unbelievable stick-to-itiveness, we have an unbelievable attitude that we can win no matter who we’re playing or where we’re playing.’’
The teams meet again New Year’s Day at the Shillelagh Tournament in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.