ORONO, Maine — The last time the University of Maine beat Boston University at the Alfond Arena was Jan. 22, 2005.
But the Black Bears snapped their six-game winless skein against the defending national champion Terriers Sunday afternoon as sophomore goalie Scott Darling made 26 saves and sophomore right wing Gustav Nyquist had a goal and an assist in their 3-2 triumph.
Maine is now 3-5 overall, 2-2 in Hockey East, and has won its last three home games.
BU, which was without 50-point scorer Nick Bonino (dislocated shoulder), lost its third straight and fell to 2-5 and 1-4, respectively.
“This was a big win for us. We’ve beaten Vermont and BU the last two weekends and those are two great nationally-ranked teams,” said Nyquist. “Every point we can get in Hockey East is huge.”
Darling said he received a lot of help.
“I don’t feel like BU had that many unbelievable chances. The forwards were always in the right position and the defensemen plugged up the lanes,” said Darling, who made 11 Grade-A (high-percentage) stops among his 26.
Jeff Dimmen’s five-on-three goal and Nyquist’s even-strength goal 1:27 later, five seconds after the second penalty had elapsed, staked Maine to a 2-0 lead.
BU’s Alex Chiasson got one back on the power play later in the period and appeared to have tied the game 6:20 into the second period when he deflected Eric Gryba’s point shot behind Darling.
But after viewing the replay, the referee ruled Chiasson was in the crease and waved it off.
Maine’s Spencer Abbott expanded the lead off a Nyquist feed on a two-on-one 3:11 later.
Chris Connolly added a power-play goal for BU with 6:59 remaining in the third period but Maine hung on.
Connolly had been robbed by Darling in the second period when the 6-foot-5 goalie stretched across to kick out his one-timer off a Vinny Saponari pass and then Darling recovered in time to stop Sean Escobedo’s follow-up shot.
“He’s a big kid and a great goalie and that’s not the first time that’s happened to me against him,” said Connolly. “I played against him in juniors and last year. I had flashbacks about those kinds of saves he made on me. He also made a great recovery and was in good position for the rebound.
“You’ve got to give him credit. He had a great night.”
Dimmen opened the scoring when a Brian Flynn pass out from the corner wound up on his stick and he roofed a rising 20-foot wrist shot.
“I was kind of screened but it was a nice shot,” said BU goalie Kieran Millan, who finished with 15 saves, including seven Grade-As.
Nyquist made it 2-0 with a wraparound into the top short- side corner over Millan’s glove.
“I made the original save [off Tanner House] and was going to cover the puck but one of my teammates shot it away from me, it went on [Nyquist’s] stick and he was able to wrap it around real quickly before I could get over,” said Millan.
Chiasson answered with a one-timer off a Corey Trivino cross-ice pass.
Abbott’s game-winner came about when he pushed the puck ahead to Nyquist down the left wing and raced to the net front as Nyquist squeezed past a BU defenseman.
“[Nyquist] made a good play to get around their defenseman. I had a guy on me but, two seconds later, he wasn’t there any more. Gustav made a good pass and I had a wide open net,” said Abbott.
“That is how not to play a two-on-one,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “That was a real bad read by our defenseman.”
Parker added that his team beat itself with the two “stupid“ penalties in the first period that led to the first two goals.
“We played very, very well in the second period and, because of that, I thought we were going to win the game,” said Parker. “But Maine played extremely well in the third period.”
Connolly’s power-play one-timer off Colby Cohen’s diagonal pass was BU’s only goal as Maine limited the Terriers to five third-period shots on goal despite three BU power plays.
“The third period may have been our best period,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead.