CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — In a game featuring a flurry of goals in the second period — six in 6:29 to be exact — it was a save at the end of the period that proved crucial in Boston College’s 6-3 men’s hockey victory over the University of Maine on Saturday night.
With his team trailing 5-3 with just seconds remaining, Maine junior left wing Kevin Swallow appeared to have a half-empty net at his disposal as he tried a wrap-around after swinging around the left post.
But sophomore goalie John Muse scrambled across with his right leg and made the save to rob Swallow and the Bears of some critical momentum to take into the third period.
“I thought I had it, but he got his right toe on it,” said Swallow. “That could have been huge for us.”
Matt Lombardi’s goal 2:11 into the third period sewed it up as he maneuvered through the low slot and swept the puck past goalie Dave Wilson, who replaced freshman Scott Darling with 5:20 left in the middle period after Darling had allowed five goals on 21 shots.
“I didn’t make any big saves,” said a somber Darling. “I let in a goal on their first shot and that’s a killer.”
Benn Ferriero scored the game-opening goal against the run of play on a breakaway.
Maine’s top line of Tanner House between Brian Flynn and Gustav Nyquist had a sustained forecheck that produced a couple of good scoring opportunities before the puck was pushed ahead to Ferreiro, who had gotten behind Maine’s defense.
Ferriero waited for Darling to make his move and when the goalie dropped into his butterfly, Ferriero calmly roofed it over his blocker-side shoulder.
BC junior center Matt Price extended the lead and closed out the first-period scoring 9:17 later when he tucked home a rebound after Darling had made rapid-fire saves on Edwin Shea and Joe Whitney.
Price began the scoring spree by sweeping home a rebound 3:53 into the second period.
Maine climbed right back into the game with goals 1:34 apart by Brian Flynn and Lem Randall. Flynn converted the rebound of a Matt Duffy shot that hit the far post, and Randall deflected a Mike Banwell slap shot over Muse’s glove.
Joe Whitney answered for BC 1:40 later with a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle past Darling’s glove.
“That’s the best shot I’ve ever faced,” said Darling.
Banwell retaliated 18 seconds later with a blast from the point, but Barry Almeida made it 5-3 2:36 later on the power play. He worked a give-and-go with Ben Smith and, after having his first shot blocked, he chipped the rebound over Darling’s left shoulder.
“Every time we scored, they scored,” said Banwell.
“That was huge,” said Price. “When there would be a little dip in our momentum, we did a real good job staying positive.”
BC snapped its six-game winless streak (0-4-2) and picked up its first win since Nov. 30.
“BC is tenacious offensively. You can’t afford to make any mistakes against them,” said Darling.
Banwell said the Bears allowed BC to get to their net front and capitalize on rebounds “and we can’t let that happen.”
The Eagles took full advantage of their speed advantage and Price said that was something on which they had focused.
“That’s one of our assets and we need to use it. We had to work hard and win the 50-50 puck battles,” said Price.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead said, “It was a good win for BC and a tough loss for us. They scored a couple goals in transition and a couple of defensive zone breakdowns really cost us.
“They were the better team,” said Whitehead, whose team’s streak of five straight games with a power play goal (8-for-32) snapped as the Bears went 0-for5.
BC outshot Maine 29-26.