ORONO, Maine — The Boston University Terriers continued their domination at University of Maine’s Alfond Arena Saturday night when the Bears were hurt by the loss of Brian Flynn, their second leading scorer.
BU scored four unanswered third-period goals to earn a 5-1 victory over the Black Bears at Alfond Arena.
Maine’s Mark Anthoine opened the scoring in the second period by flipping a Kyle Beattie pass over Kieran Millan’s glove two minutes after BU’s Justin Courtnall was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for a contact-to-the-head infraction.
Just six seconds later, Flynn was assessed a controversial five-minute major and game misconduct for a hit from behind on Wade Megan. BU’s Corey Trivino equalized during a wild scramble on a four-on-three power play with 1:37 left in the second.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead disagreed with the call on Flynn, saying the toe of Megan’s skate got caught in the ice and he was falling to the ice when Flynn bumped him.
“It was a huge turning point in the game,” said Whitehead. “It was not a five-minute major. At most, it could have been a two-minute penalty.”
He also said after watching videotape of the game, he was “even more disappointed with the officiating.
“There were two major hits, one on Adam Shemansky (by Max Nicastro) and another on Jon Swavely (by Yasin Cisse) that should have been by five-minute majors. Shemansky has a concussion and there was no call at all. Cisse’s hit was just a two-minute minor (for boarding). And Spencer Abbott was clearly tripped while we were on the power play and there was no call,” said Whitehead. “It’s a shame.”
BU coach Jack Parker agreed that the call on Flynn was a “turning point.”
“Losing (Flynn) took an awful lot of starch out of their team,” said Parker. “He’s a key guy up front along with 13 (Spencer Abbott). And (Flynn and Abbott) run their power play with Will O’Neill. All of a sudden, a lot is missing when you lose that one guy.”
It was just Flynn’s second penalty of the season. He won Hockey East’s Len Ceglarski Sportsmanship Award last season.
Whitehead said despite the call on Flynn, “we had tons of opportunities to extend our 1-0 lead.
“I felt good coming into the third period. I didn’t see that coming.”
The 11th-ranked Terriers improved to 10-5-1 with their seventh win in their last eight games.
They are now 7-1-2 in their last 10 games at Alfond Arena.
BU is 8-4-1 in Hockey East.
Maine, which had its four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) snapped, fell to 6-7-2 and 5-6-1.
The Black Bears turned in a gritty, hardworking performance but were overmatched by a BU team that was much bigger, faster and more talented. BU had 12 players over 190 pounds compared with Maine’s four.
Each team had 31 shots on goal but BU generated 27 Grade-A, or high-percentage, scoring chances to Maine’s 17.
Sahir Gill’s power-play goal 6:11 into the third period gave the Terriers the lead for good as he raced out of the corner to the right of Maine goalie Dan Sullivan and re-directed a precise slap-pass from the right point by Adam Clendening into the open net.
“As soon as I looked up and I saw he had the puck, I just tried to get to the net because I knew he’d find me there. He’s a great player with great vision. I just put my stick down and it went in,” said Gill.
“I didn’t see [Gill] coming. I should have known they would try to go back door,” said Sullivan.
Trivino’s second goal of the game made it 3-1 5:23 later off the rebound of a Clendening point shot that popped out of Sullivan’s glove.
“I was driving the net looking for a rebound,” said Trivino, who explained that the puck hit his thigh after escaping Sullivan’s glove. “I was trying to whack at it and it crossed the goal line.”
Sullivan said, “I definitely would have liked to have had that one back.”
Alexx Privitera’s 15-foot backhander over Sullivan’s blocker made it 4-1 with 5:52 left and
Gill added an empty-net goal.
Both goalies turned in stellar performances. Millan finished with 30 saves, including nine Grade-As, and became BU’s all-time career saves leader with 3,057.
Sullivan made 26 saves of which 14 were Grade-As including first-period break-ins by Cisse and Megan.
“We played two pretty good periods but we got out of game in the third period,” said Abbott. “We tried to do too much, myself included, and you can’t do that against a team like BU. We didn’t get enough pucks on Millan and didn’t get enough traffic in front of him.”