The Takeaway: BU defeats UMass in OT, ends turbulent period

Posted by: Michael King

BOSTON — In a season where Boston University has struggled to develop consistency, the Terriers overcame deficits in two games over the weekend and earned three Hockey East points against Massachusetts. The Terriers tied UMass, 2-2, at the Mullins Center in Amherst on Friday, and earned a 5-4 overtime win at Agganis Arena Saturday night. For UMass, the disappointment was palpable after the game. UMass had leads of two goals and three goals on Friday and Saturday night, respectively, but only have one point to show for its effort.

What I Saw

  • After discouraging performances against Holy Cross last weekend and UMass on Friday, BU managed 60 minutes of good hockey to earn its second Hockey East win. Parker certainly sent a message to his team by starting senior goalie Grant Rollheiser and making junior forward Alex Chiasson a healthy scratch. The coach said after Friday’s game that he would award playing time to those he thought had clearly earned it. Chiasson looked disinterested in play at times against Holy Cross, despite offering a two-goal performance.
  • Similar to Friday night’s game at the Mullins Center in Amherst, BU found itself in a multiple-goal deficit. Only this time the Terriers game back to win, rather than settling for a 2-2 draw. However, the circumstances were certainly different. UMass played much better Friday and truly earned its two-goal advantage. On Saturday, UMass benefited from scrappy play and several fortunate bounces. In addition, BU was playing much better hockey on Saturday when it went down 3-0 in the first. After the game, Parker said that he was not concerned with his team’s play, and communicated that message to his team during the first intermission.

What They Said

“The biggest turning point in the game was the 5-on-3 they had in the second period,” Parker said. “We attempted 34 shots in the second period and they had 13. That was the difference.”

“The first goal always gets the team going,” Parker said, when asked about how his team responds once they finally score during a game. “When you’re down 3-0, you’ve got to get the next one, just because you can’t go down by four goals.”

What They Didn’t Say

Though Parker was relieved that his team ended its period of poor play, he indicated that he wasn’t sure how his team would react moving forward. Parker’s team has shown that they can beat some of the best team’s in the nation (Denver on Oct. 15), but also lose to any team the next night (Providence on Oct. 14 and Holy Cross on Oct. 22).

It remains to be seen if healthy scratch Chiasson will find himself back in the lineup next weekend. It’s likely that the junior will return to the first line with Chris Connolly and Corey Trivino. The adjustment also allows sophomores Matt Nieto, Charlie Coyle and Sahir Gill to continue playing together. That grouping was the team’s best line Saturday.

What else you should know

Looking ahead, BU has one game next weekend at UMass Lowell. But that Hockey East game will be overshawdowed by its next two games: home against Merrimack on Nov. 11 and at Boston College Nov. 13. Those games will make for a critical weekend for the Terriers.

Meanwhile UMass has a pair of crucial games itself next weekend. The Minutemen travel to New Hampshire on Friday then face Boston College at home the next night. Coach Don Cahoon certainly hopes his team can take some positive momentum from playing well against BU for two games, though blowing leads in both is certainly discouraging.

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