Saturday, February 04, 2012

Captain leads the way to 4-1 win

Terriers returned to the winning side of the ledger, defeating Merrimack, 4-1, in a victory fueled by a new top line. Matt Nieto, joined with Chris Connolly and Alex Chiasson to produce three goals. Connolly gave BU an early lead just a minute and a half in, assisted by both his linemates.

In the middle stanza, Sahir Gill snapped home an Adam Clendening slap-pass to double the lead. Then Connolly, on a 3-on-2 rush, set up Chiasson for a one-timer from the right circle. The captain closed out the scoring with a third-period power play goal, his second of the night. Kieran Millan kept the Warriors off the scoresheet for 58+ minutes before Mike Collins converted a rebound left unattended by BU’s defense. He stopped 28 Merrimack shots.

The 60-minute effort pleased Coach Jack Parker:

I was really happy with how we played tonight. We were very, very thorough in all three zones. In this rink, things happen first, and we were very, very alert to that. I thought we got great goaltending. When you get four goals on Cannata, you had a real good night. That was a real good effort for us, in every phase.

Connolly, who was BU’s active career points leader against Merrimack going into the game with 10, had three more and earned first-star honors. Nieto also had three points—all assists—while Clendening continued to pile up assists, recording his 21st and 22nd.

Both Chiasson’s and Gill’s goals were their 10th of the season.

With the victory, BU wins the season series against Merrimack, 2-1, and moves the Terriers into sole possession of first place in Hockey East, two points ahead of BC.

● recap and comprehensive box score
● Video highlights
● Connolly post-game comments (video)
● Boston Hockey Blog recap, analysis,
● USCHO recap
● Hockey East Online recap
● Boston Globe recap
● College Hockey News’ The Take Away

60th Beanpot Tournament
Monday evening, Terriers meet Harvard in the early game, a 5 p.m. start, as they seek their 30th Beanpot title.
● The BU Alumni Association is staging Beanpot Watch parties throughout the country. Click here for locations and details.
● ESPN feature on The Beanpot

Looking ahead
2012 recruit Sean Maguire earned first-star honors, turning aside 38 of 39 shots in Powell River’s 2-1 overtime victory over Nannaimo. Maguire lowered his GAA to 2.27, second best in the BCHL.

2012 recruit Matt O’Connor stopped 24 shots in Youngstown’s 5-3 win against Dubuque, picking up his 19th win—second best in the USHL.

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