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BOSTON - Bolstered by a four-goal outburst in the first period, the No. 17 Boston University men's ice hockey team ended a four-game losing streak on Saturday evening, posting a 6-4 victory over visiting Merrimack at Agganis Arena. Sophomore Chris Connolly tallied two goals and an assist for the Terriers, who avenged Friday's 6-3 loss to the Warriors to improve to 3-6 on the year with a 2-5 Hockey East mark.
Sophomore goaltender Grant Rollheiser made his first start of the year after missing the first month with a high-ankle sprain and recorded a career-high 25 saves, including 12 in the third period to help the Terriers hold off the pesky Warriors.
Merrimack, which made it a 5-4 contest midway through the third after entering the first intermission with a 4-0 deficit, was paced by freshman Stephane Da Costa, who registered a goal and two assists. Junior Joe Cucci added a goal and a helper for Merrimack, which moved to 6-4 overall and 3-2 in Hockey East play.
BU wasted little time getting on the board, as junior Kevin Shattenkirk tallied his second goal of the year 44 seconds after the opening faceoff and sophomore Ross Gaudet registered his first collegiate goal just over two minutes later.
Sophomore Chris Connolly and junior Nick Bonino, who returned to the lineup after missing five games with dislocated shoulder, converted a give-and-go that resulted in Connolly's second goal of the year at 14:48 of the first before freshman Max Nicastro tallied the first goal of his young BU career on a slapshot from the right point at 17:51.
After entering the game having gone without an even-strength goal in their last 214:47 of play, all four of the Terriers' first-period goals were of the 5-on-5 variety. BU had scored a total of four goals in the first period all season prior to Saturday's game.
Merrimack cut the deficit in half with back-to-back power-play goals in the second period, but BU came back with a power-play goal of its own from the stick of junior Colby Cohen to make it a 5-2 affair after two.
The Warriors made things interesting in the third, as sophomore Elliot Sheen scored a goal at the 4:35 mark and Cucci tallied a 5-on-3 power-play marker at 8:20 to get the visitors within one at 5-4.
Rollheiser and the Terrier defense held off the late charge, however, as the netminder made a handful of tough saves down the stretch, including one on the doorstep with 10:32 to play on another 5-on-3 advantage.
With help from junior Joe Pereira, Connolly sealed the victory on an empty-net goal with seven seconds left on the clock.
BU outshot Merrimack, 34-29, and scored on one of its six power-play chances. The Warriors were 3-of-8 with the man advantage.
Senior goaltender Andrew Braithwaite was chased after the four-goal first period by the Terriers and made four saves in the stanza before being replaced by sophomore Joe Cannata, who made 15 saves in his two periods of work.
The Terriers will return to action on Friday (Nov. 20) when it kicks off a weekend home-and-home series with New Hampshire with a 7 p.m. road contest in Durham.