BU 1, Maine 1

Terriers have a point

Millan (41 stops) saves tie at Maine

By Dan Hickling
Globe Correspondent / January 30, 2011

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ORONO, Maine — Alfond Arena is most often a place where opponents come to die. Boston University seems to be an exception.

The No. 16 Terriers withstood a 42-shot onslaught by No. 12 Maine last night and walked out with a 1-1 tie, played before a sellout crowd of 5,350.

Junior goalie Kieran Millan was beaten on the first shot, then stopped the next 41 to help the Terriers, who had beaten Maine, 4-3, Friday night, take three out of a possible four points from the Black Bears over the weekend.

“It’s a feather in our caps,’’ said BU coach Jack Parker. “Or rather, it’s a feather in Kieran Millan’s cap.’’

The Terriers have been all but invincible here of late, having gone 6-1-2 in their last nine trips. The Black Bears’ home record this season is a glittering 8-2-2.

Despite Maine’s 20-2 advantage in shots, each team got its goal in the first period. Both teams scored on their first shots, beginning with Black Bears defenseman Will O’Neill just 21 seconds into the contest. As a screen formed in front of Millan, O’Neill let fly a drive from the left point that found space inside the left post.

“I just had a lot of time,’’ said O’Neill. “I just tried to get my head up and bury my chance.’’

BU captain Joe Pereira followed with a shorthanded goal at the seven-minute mark, after he and Chris Connolly skated in alone. Connolly intercepted a cross-ice pass in the BU zone and then raced in on Martin Ouellette, who was making his first start in four games. Pereira caught up on the right wing and rerouted Connolly’s feed under the bar for his 11th goal.

“Playing with Connolly is pretty special,’’ said Pereira. “We jumped the play, and I was happy to get good wood. I owed Millan a goal. I made a bad pass on the first shift that cost him a goal. I told him I’d get him one.’’

The Terriers (12-7-7, 9-5-5 Hockey East) then went more than 12 minutes without landing another shot, until Charlie Coyle tested Ouellette (19 saves) with 32 seconds left in the period.

The score held through the more evenly played second period. Maine (11-7-6, 8-5-4) appeared to have taken the lead at 6:56, when Mark Anthoine had Millan beaten at the left post. However, after discussion among the officials, it was ruled that the puck hadn’t crossed the goal line.

Soon after, the Terriers were given a five-minute power play, ending with a five-on-three for 1:58. Maine defenseman Mark Nemec was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for contact to the head at 10:03.

Although they fired a handful of shots at Ouellette, BU’s special teams failed to convert. The Black Bears’ Brian Flynn had the best scoring chance, on a shorthanded breakaway. Millan, however, swallowed up his drive from the right circle.

“I thought there were some things to like about my team tonight,’’ said Parker. “What I didn’t like is that we didn’t come ready to play. You could tell from the opening faceoff that we weren’t nearly as geared up as we had to be. And they took it to us. We didn’t have what we needed to make plays.’’

BU, the third-most penalized team in the country, spent most of the first seven minutes of the third period shorthanded. The Terriers dodged a bullet at 5:23 when Joey Diamond’s redirect of a point shot handcuffed Millan, but knuckled off the crossbar.

Connolly nearly netted a shorthander after being set up by Pereira with 5:01 left in regulation. However, he was stoned by Ouellette, who flashed a quick glove hand.

That set the stage for overtime, which settled nothing.

“If you told me we were going to come to Maine and get three out of four points,’’ said Parker, “I’d be very, very happy.’’