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BU 5, UMass 4

Terriers rally past UMass

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / October 30, 2011

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Matt Nieto said he lost track of his winning goal after he let it fly from the right point.

“I just threw it on net and lost sight of it right when I shot it,’’ Nieto said of his power-play tally on a pretty feed from Charlie Coyle that beat UMass goaltender Jeff Teglia at 3:17 of overtime. “I heard a thump and everyone was celebrating, so I just threw my hands up in the air.’’

So did an Agganis Arena crowd of 4,439 as Boston University took a 5-4 Hockey East victory over the University of Massachusetts last night. Nieto extended his goal-scoring streak to eight games dating to last season, and the 13th-ranked Terriers (3-2-1, 2-1-1) overcame a three-goal deficit in the first period to thwart the Minutemen (1-3-2, 0-3-2), who battled BU to a 2-2 draw Friday night in Amherst.

“It was a good, competitive night for us after being down 3-0,’’ said BU coach Jack Parker. “But we’ve still got a long way to go to become a good, solid hockey team.’’

Nieto, a sophomore left wing from Long Beach, Calif., who is BU’s leading scorer (6-4-10), combined with Coyle and Sahir Gill to produce three goals and four assists.

Gill’s third goal of the season, at 15:13 of the second period, pulled BU within 3-2, and Coyle’s shorthanded tally, on Nieto’s second helper of the game, tied it at 9:51 of the third.

“After a tough weekend last weekend, I figured [Friday] night was a disappointment as well,’’ said Nieto, referring to BU’s shocking 5-4 loss to Holy Cross last Saturday at Agganis. “It’s huge for us to get a win and to come out of the weekend with three points.’’

The fact the Terriers were able to salvage that many points was nothing short of amazing. UMass jumped out to a strong start, pumping three goals past BU senior netminder Grant Rollheiser (29 saves), who was making his first start of the season.

Steven Guzzo tallied his first career goal to give UMass a 1-0 lead at 10:39. After Garrett Noonan was sent off for slashing at 13:02, Troy Power tallied his first career goal at 14:11. Then, with 30 seconds remaining in the period, Conor Sheary picked Coyle’s pocket from behind in the slot and rifled the puck past Rollheiser for a 3-0 lead.

“I was happy for Rollheiser,’’ Parker said. “He played well as the game progressed. He had a couple of bad bounces and a bad turnover.

“I give him high marks for hanging in there after having a couple of bad goals, especially when you give one up at the end of the period like that.’’

But, Parker said, the game swung on two events in the second period: when BU erased a 5-on-3 UMass advantage, and when Noonan put the Terriers on the board at 14:19.

“We got a goal to make it 3-1 and that ignited us from there on in,’’ Parker said. “But I thought the biggest turning point of the game was the 5-on-3 they didn’t score on.’’

Corey Trivino rifled home a pretty pass from Chris Connolly to give BU a 4-3 lead at 11:59 of the third, but Coyle’s roughing minor at 13:41 set up Michael Pereira’s tally at 14:55 that sent it into OT, where Nieto kept his goal-scoring streak alive.

“Last year I didn’t have a great start,’’ Nieto said. “So I think I really focused on having a great start out of the gate this year . . . I’ve just been throwing it on net, and it’s been going in for me.’’