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BOSTON, Mass. - The No. 9 Boston University men's ice hockey team got its 2008-09 season off to an excellent start, posting an impressive 5-1 victory over No. 5 North Dakota in the opening round of the Ice Breaker Invitational on Friday evening at Agganis Arena. Sophomore Nick Bonino tallied two goals and an assist, while freshman goaltender Kieran Millan made 22 saves in his collegiate debut. The Terriers will face No. 11 Michigan State - a 3-1 winner over UMass - on Saturday for the Ice Breaker title.
The Terriers opened the scoring in the closing minutes of the first period with a 4-on-4 marker before the teams combined for three goals in the opening minute of the middle period. The Fighting Sioux tied the contest just 21 seconds into the second before BU regained the lead for good with a tally just 17 seconds after the equalizer and another 21 ticks later.
BU made it a run of four unanswered goals by scoring near the middle of both the second and third stanzas to close out their first season-opening win since starting the 2005-06 slate with a 3-1 win over UMass Lowell.
Sophomore Colin Wilson and senior Jason Lawrence each had a goal and an assist for the Terriers and senior Chris Higgins earned a pair of helpers. Bonino, sophomore Colby Cohen and freshman Chris Connolly each had a plus-3 rating.
The Terriers held a 33-23 shot advantage over the Fighting Sioux, who got their lone goal from senior Brad Miller. Freshman Brad Eidsness made 29 saves in the North Dakota goal in his collegiate debut.
BU took a while to adjust to the aggressive style of play shown by the Fighting Sioux in the game's early stages, but seemed to find its groove as the opening period developed. After a short but unsuccessful 5-on-3 opportunity for the Terriers turned into 4-on-4 play, Bonino set up the game's first goal in transition late in the first.
The second-year forward took a pass from fellow sophomore Colby Cohen along the left side before cutting in and spotting another classmate, Kevin Shattenkirk, cutting through the slot. Shattenkirk took a pass from Bonino and wristed home the puck at 18:29.
North Dakota came out of the first intermission determined to even the score, and did just that, as Miller punched in rebound on assists from senior Joe Finley and junior Chay Genoway just 21 seconds into the second.
The deadlock was short lived, however, as Lawrence sent in a nice feed from Wilson while charging towards the right post only 17 seconds after what ended up being North Dakota's only goal of the night.
Following a win on the ensuing faceoff, BU established a multi-goal lead when Bonino scored his first tally of the evening on assists from junior Brandon Yip and freshman Chris Connolly, who notched his first career point.
Wilson made it a three-goal period for the Terriers at 8:10 of the second. Higgins sent a pass through the slot from the left side that found its way to Wilson following a redirect by Lawrence and the sophomore tucked a shot from the right circle inside the left post, just past the reach of Eidsness.
Bonino put the finishing touches on the victory and his three-point night with an unassisted goal at 10:16 of the third, when he gathered a loose puck on the left before wristing a shot off Eidsness' back and into the cage.
Millan was solid throughout the contest, stopping the final 14 shots on goal he faced, including a point-blank glove effort in the third.
The Terriers will take on the Spartans at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 11) after North Dakota and UMass meet at 4:30 p.m.