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BOSTON, Mass. - Senior Brandon Yip scored a pair of goals and sophomore Nick Bonino added three assists as the fifth-ranked Boston University men's ice hockey team opened Hockey East play with a 5-2 win over Merrimack on Friday night at Agganis Arena. The Terriers improved to 3-0 to start the season for the first time since 2001, while the Warriors fell to 1-1.
The Terriers held a 2-0 lead after the first period before making it a three-goal contest early on in the second period on a shorthanded tally by Yip. Merrimack, however, got back in the contest with consecutive goals from sophomore Chris Barton less than three minutes apart in the late stages of the middle period.
BU regained control in the third with goals at the 6:21 and 7:30 marks to reestablish a three-goal lead and go on to win its 13th straight meeting with the Warriors.
Freshman goaltender Kieran Millan earned his second win in as many starts, making 23 saves in the BU goal. Junior Andrew Braithwaite also made 23 stops in a losing effort for the Warriors.
The two squads combined for 19 penalties on the evening with BU converting its first two power-play goals of the season and the visitors scoring once with the man advantage.
The Terriers wasted little time in taking a lead, as freshman Vinny Saponari sent home a rebound for his first collegiate goal just 1:22 after the opening faceoff. Senior co-captain John McCarthy and freshman Corey Trivino assisted on the play with Trivino earning his first career point.
BU's first power-play marker of the season came from the stick of Yip, as the forward found senior co-captain Matt Gilroy at the left point before getting the puck back at the top of the slot and shooting it past Merrimack netminder Andrew Braithwaite at 7:07 of the first. Bonino also assisted on the play.
After taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, the Terriers continued to build momentum in the early stages of the middle stanza and scored shorthanded for the second consecutive game.
With sophomore Joe Pereira in the penalty box for holding, sophomore Colby Cohen won a puck behind the BU net and push it up the right side to Bonino. With Yip as a trailer on the play, Bonino calmly controlled the puck before sneaking a pass through the slot, where Yip was given a virtually wide-open net for his second goal of the night at 3:30.
The Warriors mounted a comeback later in the second, as Barton came through with back-to-back tallies. He got the visitors on the board at 16:16 on assists from junior Pat Bowen and Elliott Sheen before making it a one-goal contest on a power-play tally at 18:47.
On the second goal, sophomore Francois Ouimet got his stick on a shot from the point by freshman Karl Stollery and Millan made the initial stop before Barton was quick to the punch with the rebound and sent it in from the right side.
The Terriers made sure that's as close as Merrimack would get, as the home team scored twice in the first eight minutes of the third.
Off a play in transition, junior Luke Popko registered his first goal of the season with his second attempt on a rebound by the left post. Pereira and Cohen each earned assists on the play.
Just over a minute later, Gilroy also potted his first tally of the year when he one-timed a shot past Braithwaite on a power play on helpers from Bonino and freshman David Warsofsky.
BU, which won its league opener for the fifth time in six seasons, will continue Hockey Easy play on Sunday (Oct. 19) when it visits No. 6 New Hampshire in a big early-season match-up. The game, which will be televised by ESPNU, will start at 5 p.m.