Terriers taken down by the River Hawks
The Hockey East plot thickens.
Only two weekends remain in the regular season and it remains very tight at the top of the standings.
Last night, freshman left wing Scott Wilson had a pair of goals, leading No. 6 UMass-Lowell to a 4-2 victory over No. 2 Boston University at Agganis Arena in front of 5,623, marking the first time since 1980 that the Terriers have dropped four straight at home.
Boston College completed a weekend sweep of Merrimack, vaulting the Eagles into sole possession of first place, with the River Hawks (20-9-0, 15-8-0) one point behind. BU (18-11-1, 14-8-1) dropped to third.
The first two meetings this season between BU and Lowell were mismatches. On Nov. 5 at Lowell, the River Hawks ran away with a 7-1 victory. The second time at Lowell, on Friday night, the Terriers cruised, 7-4. Both losing teams scored first before having the tables turned.
Last night’s matchup was different. UMass-Lowell took the lead early in the opening period and never relinquished it. At 3:27, Wilson took a pass from Riley Wetmore and rifled a shot past goaltender Kieran Millan from the high slot. It was Wilson’s 14th tally of the season.
The goal followed an incredible stretch of pressure by the Terriers. One of the top chances came just 16 seconds in when Alex Chiasson was in tight on netminder Doug Carr, but Carr blocked the bid and withstood a couple of other flurries before the River Hawks turned on their offense.
BU tied it at 5:03 of the second period when freshman Yasin Cisse, positioned along the left boards, flung the puck toward the Lowell net. Ross Gaudet was there to redirect it past Carr for his fourth of the year.
The Terriers, who went into the weekend as the most-penalized team in the nation, got into trouble when sophomore right wing Sahir Gill was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting from behind at 11:26.
Less than a minute later, the River Hawks regained the lead. Chad Ruhwedel, who was at the right point, sent the puck at the BU net and Wilson was there to tip it past Millan for his second of the night at 12:17.
With 26.2 seconds remaining in the second, the River Hawks gave themselves a bit of breathing room. Daniel Furlong fired a shot from the left point that appeared to glance off BU defenseman Adam Clendening and past Millan.
Ruhwedel made it a three-goal lead at 9:02 of the third when he beat Millan over the glove from the slot.
BU coach Jack Parker replaced Millan with senior Grant Rollheiser at 9:42.
The Terriers had scored a power-play goal in 12 straight contests heading into last night but as time ticked down that skein looked to be in jeopardy. However, with four seconds remaining on the man-advantage at 12:52, junior defenseman Max Nicastro teed up a slapper from the right point that beat Carr over the glove.
But BU couldn’t any closer, despite outshooting Lowell, 41-30.
“We’re very pleased to get two points in an opposing rink like this,’’ said Lowell coach Norm Bazin. “I think the guys competed a little harder. We got pucks to the net front with some traffic. Overall, I think we were able to make a few adjustments [after Friday’s game].’’
Parker wasn’t displeased with his team’s play.
“I loved my team tonight,’’ he said. “I loved how hard we played, I loved how smart we played. When you attempt 44 shots in the third period and don’t win, that’s a testament to the other team bending but not breaking.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.