Sophomore defenseman Matt Gilroy gets game-winner for Terriers

BOSTON - Sophomore Matt Gilroy scored nine seconds into overtime to lift the No. 10/11 Boston University men's ice hockey team to a thrilling 2-1 victory over 17th-ranked Yale on Saturday evening at Agganis Arena. The win was the Terriers' third straight and improved their record to 5-2-4.

The teams traded power-play goals in the first period with the Terriers getting on the board first in the 10th minute of play via freshman Luke Popko’s first career goal. The Bulldogs took full advantage of a 5-on-3 opportunity later in the period for what would be the final goal of regulation.

Gilroy corralled the puck off the first faceoff of overtime and moved it into the Yale zone with a pass to classmate Jason Lawrence. Before being met by a Yale defender, Lawrence moved the puck to sophomore Chris Higgins, who spotted Gilroy streaking to the left post. Upon receiving the puck, Gilroy elevated the puck to the top of the netting to give the Terriers their first-ever overtime win at Agganis Arena.

Making his first appearance of the season, junior goaltender Karson Gillespie turned in a great performance for the Terriers, recording 23 saves. Yale netminder Alec Richards made 20 stops in a losing effort.

The Terriers scored on their first power-play opportunity of the evening, but went 0-for-7 the rest of the way despite setting up several good looks on the man advantage throughout the contest.

BU moved to 1-0-2 against ranked opponents this season and won at home for the 12th time in the last 15 tries. The Bulldogs suffered their first road loss of the season and fell to 6-2-1 on the year.

The Terriers tested Richards right from the start, moving the puck effectively through the zone to set up a handful of early chances.

Just over two minutes into the game, Yale committed a turnover just outside its zone, allowing Popko to skate in and set up a great look just outside the crease for senior Eric Thomassian. Richards was up to the task, however, stuffing the redirect attempt.

Popko got another chance to open the scoring midway through the period on the Terriers’ first power-play opportunity and the freshman did not disappoint. Senior captain Sean Sullivan slid the puck across the top of the zone to Gilroy, who maneuvered a cross-ice pass to Popko at the right faceoff dot. Popko spotted Lawrence at the far post and wristed the puck in that direction. The puck glazed off a Yale defender’s skate before getting to Lawrence and instead found the back of the net at the 9:42 mark for Popko’s first career goal.

The Bulldogs erased the early deficit with 5:04 left in the first period on a 5-on-3 advantage. Positioned just outside the crease, sophomore Patrick Brosnihan redirected a shot from junior Robert Page for what would be the visitors’ lone goal of the contest. Senior Bill LeClerc also assisted on the play.

The Bulldogs committed three penalties in a span of under five minutes in the first half of the middle period, but killed them all off and nearly were able to take the lead. Towards the final seconds on one of the penalties, Yale manufactured a good shorthanded chance and soon after had a great opportunity on an open net after catching Gillespie out of position. Gillespie saved the shorthanded shot and the attempt at the wide-open cage clanged off the side of the goal.

Gillespie made several standout saves on the night including a remarkable pad save on a rebound attempt by freshman Marc Arcobello during a Yale power play at the 13:25 mark of the second period. Soon after that stop, BU committed another penalty to create the visitors’ second two-man advantage of the evening. Gillespie came up big again, stopping a hard slapshot from the left side by freshman Sean Backman before the Terriers successfully killed off the penalties.

BU also had its chances late in the second, including a shorthanded chance by Gilroy with 5:30 left in the period. The sophomore attacked from the outside before having his attempt stuffed by Richards. However, the Terriers’ best chance of the period came with the teams skating 4-on-4. A turnover deep in the Yale zone left Roche all alone with nobody but Richards to beat. The senior deked out the netminder and had a lot of the goal to work with, but lost his balance and hit the left pipe.

The pipe was unkind to both teams as they attempted to record the go-ahead goal in the third. With just under 15 minutes left in regulation, a centering pass by Gilroy set up a shot for Strait, who one-timed a shot off the pipe. Just over a minute later on a 2-on-1 breakaway, a shot from the left side by Yale’s Sean Backman nailed the pipe.

Yale mustered one more solid shorthanded chance with just under 12 minutes left in the third, but a breakaway attempt by senior Robert Burns was saved by Gillespie.

The Terriers will return to their Hockey East schedule on Tuesday, Nov. 28, when they welcome No. 14 Massachusetts to Agganis Arena for the final contest of a four-game homestand. Game time is set for 7 p.m.