ORONO — Chris Austin made a surprise wedding proposal to Heidi Choate between the first and second periods of Friday night’s hockey game between the University of Maine and Boston University at Alfond Arena.
The teary-eyed Choate accepted, and it appeared as though the Black Bears were going to give the couple an early wedding present with three goals in a span of 1:12 in the second period to erase a 1-0 deficit.
But the Terriers became Engagement Crashers, scoring three unanswered goals to deal the Black Bears another devastating setback, 4-3.
The Terriers, who ended New Hampshire’s 27-game home unbeaten streak in Hockey East regular-season play last Saturday, dealt Maine just its second home loss against eight wins and a tie.
BU is now 6-1-1 in its last eight visits to Alfond Arena.
The teams will play again Saturday night at 7.
Junior defenseman David Warsofsky’s goal 3:43 into the third period broke a 3-3 tie, and junior goalie Kieran Millan came up with a series of superb saves to preserve the win.
The Black Bears’ Kyle Beattie hit the post with 5:32 left.
BU improved to 12-7-6 overall, 9-5-4 in Hockey East. Maine fell to 11-7-5 and 8-5-3.
Alex Chiasson set up the game-winner from the corner as the puck deflected to him off the referee’s skate. He fed it to Warsofsky in the high slot, and Warsofsky beat Maine goalie Shawn Sirman with a one-timer.
“I came in pretty late and they left the middle of the ice open,” said Warsofsky. “Alex made a good pass, I saw (Sirman) sliding across and I tried to get it by him.”
“It went over my glove,” said Sirman.
Millan preserved the win with 12 third-period saves, including eight of the Grade-A (high-percentage) variety. He finished with 34 saves, including 22 Grade-A stops.
“A couple of their goals were my fault, I made some mental errors,” said Millan. “I didn’t want them to ruin the team’s chances of winning. I got back to playing my game.”
“He’s our key guy,” said Chiasson.
“He shut the door on us,” said Sirman, who wound up with 23 saves, including 16 Grade-A’s.
The Black Bears erased a 1-0 deficit in dramatic fashion with three goals in a span of 1:12 in the second period.
BU coach Jack Parker called a vital timeout and the Terriers responded with goals 28 seconds apart later in the middle period to tie it.
“I told them they were playing well and to just relax and keep playing,” said Parker.
Corey Trivino staked BU to a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the first period as he converted a breakaway off a Chris Connolly pass.
Spencer Abbott scored goals 21 seconds apart early in the second period to give Maine its first lead of the game, and Tanner House scored 51 seconds later.
Seconds after Chiasson failed to convert a breakaway early in the second period, the puck wound up on the stick of Robby Dee. He made a long pass to Abbott, who broke down the left wing and beat Millan with a slap shot into the short-side corner.
Josh Van Dyk fed Abbott for his next goal from a similar spot. However, Abbott faked the slap shot and moved into better shooting position before wristing it into the short-side corner.
House made it 3-1 on the power play when BU’s Adam Clendening lost the puck off his stick and it rolled to House, who took a stride and wristed the puck past Millan’s blocker.
But Chiasson got one back as the puck squirted out to him in the slot. His soft roller trickled slowly between Sirman’s left skate and the post.
“(Matt Nieto) passed it out and I had to reach for it. I just whacked at it,” said Chiasson.
“(Chiasson) fanned on it, but I kept sliding over (and couldn’t recover),” said Sirman.
“That goal was the trigger (for the comeback),” said Parker.
“That gave us the belief (we could rally),” said Millan. “We’ve given up goals (in quick succession) a lot this year and we haven’t been able to come back.”
Megan tied it when Maine’s Jon Swavely got his stick wedged in the boards and the puck bounced to Megan, whose quick wrister from the right circle beat Sirman between the pads.
Maine outshot BU 12-5 in the third period and finished with a 37-27 edge for the game.
But the Bears couldn’t solve Millan, and he caught a break when Beattie rattled the rebound of a Joey Diamond shot off the near post.
“I was able to keep my eyes on the puck, and I was able to cover it with my glove just before one of their guys knocked it in,” said Millan.
“This game can be cruel. We got some great looks, but Millan was excellent and BU defended really well,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “I liked our effort and focus.”
Abbott said the Bears got “too high” after their goal flurry and “we stopped doing the things we did to get the lead. We tried to make plays we shouldn’t have made. We keep making the same mistakes.”