BOSTON, Mass. - Led by a pair of goals from freshman Chris Connolly, the second-ranked Boston University men's ice hockey team rolled to a 4-1 win over Maine on Saturday evening at Agganis Arena. Seniors Chris Higgins and Brandon Yip also scored for the Terriers, who improved to 14-4-1 overall and 7-4-1 in Hockey East play with their fifth straight win.
Higgins gave the Terriers the lead for good when he broke a 1-1 tie on a tally with just eight tenths of a second left in the opening period. Connolly, who opened the scoring under nine minutes into the game, scored the lone goal of the second before Yip capped the scoring exactly midway through the third.
Maine, who got a power-play goal from sophomore Robby Dee, falls to 10-8-2 overall with a 5-6-1 conference mark.
The Terriers, who are now undefeated in their last eight contests (7-0-1), got a 15-save performance from freshman goaltender Kieran Millan, as he improved to 10-1-1 on the year. Fellow freshman Scott Darling recorded 22 saves in goal for the Black Bears.
For the 10th time in its last 11 games, BU got on the board first, as Connolly wristed home a shot from the high slot at 8:50 of the first. Junior Brian Strait caused a turnover along the left boards and the puck made its way to freshman Corey Trivino, who set up Connolly for the goal.
The Terriers entered the game having killed 27 straight killed penalties and stretched it to 28 before Maine ended it with a power-play equalizer with under two minutes left in the first. Junior Kevin Swallow attempted a redirect in front of the goal off a shot from the top of the zone by senior Chris Hahn, but the puck slid above the right post, where Dee knocked it home at 18:11.
Higgins made sure BU entered the first with a lead as he backhanded a pass from classmate Jason Lawrence from the slot to beat the first-period buzzer. The play started when Higgins fired a shot from just inside the left circle that Darling stopped. Instead of gathering the puck as the final seconds ticked away, Darling attempted to send it to the corner, but Lawrence skated in, got his stick on the puck, and quickly pushed it back to Higgins for the last-chance shot.
Connolly completed his first career multi-goal game with a tally in transition with just 1:07 left in the second period. Following a pass from the right side by sophomore Kevin Shattenkirk, Connolly's effort from just inside the left circle went off a Maine defender,then off a pipe and in. Senior Matt Gilroy also assisted on the play.
BU continued to control the play for the rest of the game, limiting the visitors to just three shots on goal in the third. Yip capped the game when he stuffed home a rebound outside the right crease with exactly 10 minutes left in regulation following a shot by senior John McCarthy. Junior Luke Popko picked up the secondary assist on the tally.
BU came up empty on its three power-play chances in the game while Maine went 1-of-6. The Terriers successfully killed off a five-minute penalty on sophomore Joe Pereira, who was issued his second game misconduct in the last three contests on a hitting from behind call early in the second.
The Terriers will return to action on Tuesday (Jan. 13) when they welcome Providence to Agganis Arena for a 7 p.m. contest.