BU puts Denver’s comeback bid on hold
The University of Denver went into this weekend hoping to make an impression on the iron of Hockey East. On Friday night, the third-ranked ranked Pioneers certainly got Boston College’s attention, beating the top-ranked Eagles, 4-2. Last night, Denver’s sights were set on No. 8 Boston University.
But the Terriers turned the tables on their opponents from the WCHA, skating to a 4-3 victory in front of 5,930 at Agganis Arena. Denver hasn’t beaten BU since Nov. 26, 2004, and the Terriers have a 14-12-2 record in the series.
The game wasn’t without its hairy moments for the home team, which watched a 4-0 lead shrink dramatically in the third period.
“I thought one of the best parts about the game was once they did make it 4-3, we really competed hard,’’ said BU coach Jack Parker.
The Terriers’ first goal came at 10:54 of the opening period with the teams skating four a side. Freshman center Cason Hohmann made a nifty pass to Alex Chiasson, who drove from the left circle into the slot and lifted a forehand shot past the glove of Adam Murray (33 saves).
BU (2-1-0) erupted for three more tallies in the second, all coming on special teams. Just 19 seconds in, Murray fanned on an attempt to clear the puck behind the net during a Pioneers power play, and Corey Trivino pounced on it and jammed it into the net from just outside the right post to make it 2-0.
It was Trivino’s first career shorthanded strike and the third straight game in which he had scored a goal.
“I don’t think there’s any question that our best player up and down the lineup was Corey Trivino,’’ said Parker. “He was absolutely fabulous tonight again. He’s having a great start to this year and he’s just what we want him to be. He’s physical, he’s scoring goals, he’s playing great defensively, and he’s got it cooking pretty well.’’
BU added a second shorthanded goal on the same power play 43 seconds later. Sophomore pivot Charlie Coyle dished a pass from just inside the right side of the blue line, and sophomore Matt Nieto guided it past Murray for the 3-0 advantage.
At 2:58, the Terriers picked up a power-play goal to make it a four-goal cushion. Sophomore defenseman Adam Clendening fired the puck down from the right point and it deflected off a Denver player. Junior left wing Wade Megan collected it in the low slot and backhanded it past Murray.
With about five minutes remaining in the period, Megan suffered a bruised left shoulder, which was already ailing, and he was led down the runway by a member of the training staff. But he did return, and Parker said he’s fine.
Senior Kieran Millan (35 saves) lost the shutout at 6:01 of the third when he surrendered a goal to Luke Salazar, his first of the season. That began the erosion of most of BU’s lead.
Millan gave up the second goal at 13:09 when defenseman John Lee beat him from long range, and Denver (1-1-0) closed to within a goal at 17:39 when Drew Shore scored with Murray on the bench for an extra attacker.
“We got selfish and stupid and that’s how they got their last two,’’ said Parker.
At 4-3, the Pioneers kept up the pressure, buzzing the BU net, and the Terriers couldn’t get an empty-netter, which Parker said they shouldn’t have been focusing on. What sealed it was a holding penalty on Denver left wing Beau Bennett with 18.1 seconds left, which sent the faceoff to the Pioneers’ end, and the Terriers were able to run out the clock.
“I thought the last penalty was the absolutely correct call,’’ said Parker. “That crept into our game last year and they want to make that a point of emphasis in college hockey and certainly a point of emphasis in our league. They already had an extra man and they didn’t need to interfere with us and they did. It was a big call to make and an important call to make.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.