BOSTON — The Boston University Terriers had been made to look like anything but the nation’s top-ranked team by the youthful and energetic University of Maine Black Bears as they split the first two games of their Hockey East quarterfinal series.
However, the top-seeded Terriers certainly looked like themselves Sunday night when they scored five unanswered goals to dispatch the Black Bears 6-2 at Agganis Arena.
BU improved to 29-6-4 while the Black Bears finished up at 13-22-4.
The Terriers came out storming and Colby Cohen gave them a 1-0 lead just 58 seconds into the game. John McCarthy’s pass intended for Brandon Yip deflected over to Cohen as he cruised down the right wing, and he beat Maine freshman goalie Scott Darling with a rising one-timer over his glove into the top-side corner.
Maine’s Spencer Abbott equalized with Maine’s sixth power-play goal in the series as he swept a Simon Danis-Pepin pass into the short-side corner past BU goalie Kieran Millan. But Yip and Joe Pereira scored just 29 seconds apart later in the period to give BU a lead it would never relinquish.
Yip finished off a neat two-pass sequence as linemates Nick Bonino and John McCarthy each made a backhand pass. McCarthy passed to Bonino at the near post and Bonino slid the puck across to Yip, who flipped it into the short-side corner.
BU coach Jack Parker felt Yip’s goal was the most important of the game.
“They had just tied it 1-1 and we scored right after that,” Parker said.
Yip’s goal came 1:46 after Abbott’s equalizer.
Twenty-nine seconds later Luke Popko got the puck to David Warsofsky at the left point and his one-timer was tipped by Pereira between Darling’s pads.
“They scored those two goals on back-to-back shifts like we did on Saturday night, but we weren’t able to respond,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “We had some chances early in the second period off a couple of their turnovers but we couldn’t capitalize, and they got the fourth goal.”
Whitehead added that he was very impressed with BU.
“BU rose up. They played with a lot of desperation. I knew they would play better than they did Saturday night. We never quit but we couldn’t match their talent or speed and we ran out of gas,” Whitehead said.
Parker said his team “played the type of game we’re capable of playing.”
BU’s Corey Trivino, Zach Cohen and Bonino scored in a span of 5:51 in the second period to sew up the triumph.
Chris Connolly set up the Trivino goal by speeding down the right wing and sending the pass across intended for Vinny Saponari. However, the pass evaded Saponari and landed on the stick of Trivino, who sliced across the top of the crease and tucked the puck between Darling’s legs.
Zach Cohen made it 5-1 when he skated unmolested down the left wing and snapped the puck inside the far post from the low slot.
Bonino scored on a breakaway after poking the puck free from Brian Flynn. Flynn hustled back to lift Bonino’s stick, but the puck carried through Darling’s legs.
BU’s six goals through the first two periods came on 21 shots.
Maine’s Gustav Nyquist scored his third goal in two games late in the third period for the final tally.
BU outshot Maine 28-26.
Former Bangor High and Kents Hill goalie Josh Seeley replaced Darling with 2:40 remaining and made two saves.
Whitehead said they were disappointed with the results but added there were a lot of positives they can apply to next season. He mentioned that although Darling didn’t have one of his better games Sunday night, he turned in two exceptional performances in the first two games and can build on that for the future.
Whitehead also singled out Nyquist for this three goals and an assist in the three-game series.
The Maine coach was encouraged by the fact his team won the special teams battle against BU, outscoring the Terriers and their No. 1-ranked power play 6-1 on special teams.
Whitehead said his young players received some valuable ice time in a playoff atmosphere against the nation’s No. 1 team.
Maine had 13 freshmen and sophomores in the lineup for the three games and will lose just four seniors.