Sunday, March 17, 2013

Terriers rally past Merrimack and advance to the Garden

Senior Ben Rosen’s early third-period goal broke a 3-all tie and paced the Terriers to a 5-3 comeback win and a two-game sweep of Merrimack in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. BU overcame one-goal deficits three times in the second period, before scoring the game-winner and an empty netter. The win in retiring head coach Jack Parker's final home game, sends BU to TD Garden next Friday for a semi-final match-up with Boston College.

Merrimack took a 1-0 lead late in the first on a power play goal, ending Sean Maguire’s shutout streak at 151:22, the fifth longest in program history. But in the middle stanza, the teams combined for five goals. Matt Nieto knotted the scored when he finished off a slick Danny O’Regan centering pass, earning the San Jose Sharks draft choice his 100th career point. The Warriors regained the lead on top scorer Mike Collins' power play goal, which was matched by a Cason Hohmann goal off his own rebound, also with a man-advantage.

Merrimack scored what appeared to be a crushing goal off a turnover at 18:40, but BU responded again with eight seconds remaining when Sam Kurker banged home the rebound of Hohmann’s shot for BU’s second power-play goal.

BU scored the game-winner five minutes into the third period when Rosen crashed the crease to sneak Matt Lane’s centering pass past Sam Marrotta. Merrimack pressed to tie the game and stave off elimination, but the Terriers iced things when Sahir Gill tapped the puck into the empty net after Wade Megan’s lunging effort sent the puck into the crease.

The victory gave BU its first two-game sweep of a Hockey East quarterfinal series since 2006.

BU’s third line is getting more and more ice time and nearly  had all three skaters score as Matt Lane clanged a shot off the post halfway through the third period.

Eleven different Terriers registered points with Megan, Gill and Hohmann each having a two-point night.

Following the game Coach Parker addressed the crowd thanking his team for its effort and BU fans for their support over the years, concluding with an “I love the band” shout-out.

During a post-game press conference that featured the usual Parker dry wit, some looking back at previous quarterfinal series and an Oscar Wilde quote, Parker told the media:

 “I was really thinking this morning I don’t want to go Sunday, I really don’t want to go Sunday. Now we don’t have to. I can go see my boat tomorrow.”

“It kind of felt weird tonight that this was my last game in a BU rink. It didn’t dawn on me in [Monday’s] press conference ‘cause I knew I had to go practice the next day. It was weird, but it was nice to win."

Asked about injured defenseman Garrett Noonan’s availability for the BC game, Parker said it was “plausible.”

Parker posed with Brian “Sasquatch” Zive in the Friends of Hockey lounge post-game, telling the uber-fan, "I want a picture with you!"

● recap, comprehensive box score
● Video highlights
● Post-game comments: Parker, Rosen and Megan, Kurker
● College Hockey News’ Takeaway
● WTBU Sports recap and Parker feature
● USCHO recap
● ESPN Boston recap
● Boston Globe recap
● Terriers and Parker respond to empty-net goal (photo)
New York Times: One Final Home Win

Looking ahead
Among those in attendance at the game were two BU recruits, Cushing Academy’s  Cam Askew (left)and Omaha/USHL’s Robbie Baillargeon, a former standout forward at Cushing. 

► On Friday, sophomore Evan Rodrigues’ brother Paul, a senior forward playing Oswego State  was named Division 3 Player of the Year. Rodrigues, who scored 46 point in 30 games led the Lakers to the D3 national championship game, which they lost, 5-3, to Wisconsin Eau Claire.

Women’s Team
#3 Terriers are headed back to the Frozen Four after defeating #6/7 Clarkson, 5-3, in an NCAA quarterfinal game at Walter Brown Arena. Freshman Sarah Lefort scored a pair of unassisted goals while junior Marie-Philip Poulin and senior Jennelle Kohanchuk each contributed a goal and an assist.

With the victory, which matched BU’s program best 27, the Terriers propel themselves to an NCAA semi-final game against Mercyhurst, which upset #2 Cornell in overtime, 4-3. The Frozen Four begins Friday night in Minneapolis.

After Lefort’s goal gave BU a 3-1 lead midway through the final period, junior Louise Warren struck 26 seconds later with what would prove to be the game-winner. Clarkson narrowed the lead to a single goal before Lefort’s empty-netter sealed the win.

Junior goalie Kerrin Sperry stopped 34 shots en route to her career-best 23rd win. Poulin’s two points gave her 51 points (17g, 34a), also a career-best.

● recap, comprehensive box score
● Video highlights and victory celebration
● Post game press conference 
USCHO recap

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