BOSTON - IIn head coach Jack Parker's final home game, the No. 18 Boston University men's ice hockey team posted a 5-3 victory over Merrimack on Saturday evening to sweep its Hockey East quarterfinal series and advance to TD Garden for a semifinal showdown with archrival Boston College.
The third-seeded Terriers (20-15-2) erased three one-goal deficits before taking a 4-3 lead on a goal at the crease by senior Ben Rosen with 14:49 left in regulation.
Sophomore Cason Hohmann and junior Sahir Gill each had one goal and one assist while junior Matt Nieto notched the 100th point of his career by potting his team-leading 17th goal of the season. Freshman Sam Kurker notched a key power-play goal and fellow rookie Sean Maguire made 39 saves to earn his fourth consecutive victory.
The game marked the final time Parker coached in front of a home crowd in his 40-year coaching career, as the Terrier bench boss announced on Monday that he will retire at the end of the season.
BU, which earned a 3-0 shutout win in Friday's series opener, advances to the league semifinals for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons.
Sixth-seeded Merrimack (15-17-6) got a 29-save performance from junior Sam Marotta and goals from freshman John Gustafsson and juniors Mike Collins and Shawn Bates.
BU went 2-of-5 on the power play and had its streak of successful penalty kills come to an end at 21 thanks to a 2-for-3 performance by the visitors on the man advantage. Bates scored the lone goal of the first on a power-play tally with just a minute remaining in the period. BU erased that 1-0 deficit just seconds after a power play expired early in the first when freshman Danny O'Regan spotted Nieto in the slot, where the junior buried a shot to become just the third Terrier since 2000 to reach the century mark before the end of his junior season.
Skating on another man advantage, the Warriors took the lead again three minutes later on a wrister by Collins from the right circle.
The teams went back and forth towards the late stages of the second, beginning with another equalizer from the Terriers. Hohmann followed up his own shot from the left circle on the power play to make it a 2-2 affair at the 16:12 mark.
Once again, the visitors regained the lead, as Gustaffson corralled an errant BU pass and found the corner of the net to make it 3-2 in their favor with 1:60 left in the second.
Kurker would send the teams into the second intermission deadlocked, however, as he punched in a puck at the top of the crease for BU's second power-play goal of the night with just 7.6 seconds left in the middle stanza. Senior captain Wade Megan and Hohmann assisted on the play.
In the sixth minute of the third, Rosen won a faceoff and got the puck to freshman Matt Lane before skating to the net. Lane backhanded a puck towards Marotta and Rosen got his stick on it before roofing it to give the Terriers the lead for good.
With Marotta pulled, Gill teamed up with Megan to seal the victory with an empty netter with 4.4 seconds left in regulation.
In all, 11 Terriers recorded at least one point on the night. Senior Sean Escobedo and freshman Ahti Oksanen recorded five blocked shots each.
The Terriers will face fifth-ranked Boston College in Friday's second Hockey East semifinal at TD Garden. The game, which will be broadcast by NESN and NBC Sports Network, is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.