Just as head coaches Jack Parker and Tim Whitehead anticipated, the second match of Friday night's Hockey East semifinal doubleheader between Boston University and Maine was an intense, physical, down-to-the-wire matchup.
However, Maine set the tone early on showing they weren't intimidated by defending champion Boston University as they hung on for a 5-2 win Friday night.
Maine came out hard for a physical, hard-hitting first period, and sent the Terriers a message by outshooting them 18-5. Their hard work paid off midway through the first at 14:14 when Joey Diamond got the Black Bears on the board off a tricky move to beat Kieran Millan. Diamond weaved through BU's defense and tucked in his seventh of the year on a low shot along the ice. Adam Shemansky and Matt Mangene picked up assists on the play.
David Warsofsky gave the Terriers their best chance of the period after picking up a loose puck along Maine's blue line and bursting down the right side of the ice for a quick wrist shot, that was blocked by Dave Wilson's blocker.
With just under two minutes remaining in the period, BU's penalties continued to be a factor when Brian Flynn capitalized on the power play at 18:46 with a shot from the point to put Maine up by two. Heavy traffic in front of the net didn't allow Millan much of a chance to even see it.
BU tried to find their stride in the second, playing better defense and creating more scoring chances. They still couldn't break their offensive silence however, despite tying the Black Bears with seven shots apiece.
After Parker called a time out to help his team regroup, the Terriers' best chances of the period came from Nick Bonino and Chris Connolly. Bonino was left alone in front for a quick shot while Connolly struck iron after being set up from Kevin Shattenkirk’s saucer pass from the far right side. BU even had a 5-on-3 at one point in the period, but Wilson continued to stand his ground.
Maine continued their strong offensive play when Robby Dee gave the Black Bears a 3-0 lead at 7:00 in the second. After taking a pass from Mark Nemeo, Dee managed to split BU's defense and rip his 13th of the year, top shelf on Millan.
BU caught a huge break midway through the second at 9:17 when Gustav Nyquist's deflection from the point was called back by the refs for a high stick.
The Terriers wouldn't give up their title without a fight. Early in the third, Shattenkirk buried a rebound to bring BU back to life. Bonino had the initial shot when he walked the puck out front after a low cycle. Vinny Saponari also picked up an assist on the play.
The toughest call of the game came with 3:47 remaining when there was a 10-minute goal review on a BU scramble in front of the net. After a long consultation between the refs, Saponari was finally credited with the Terriers' second goal of the game to cut Maine's lead to one. Shattenkirk and Bonino picked up the assists.
Maine crushed the Terriers' hopes for a comeback when less two minutes later David deKastrozza ripped a bullet slapshot just under the crossbar when he took a pass from Josh Van Dyk and Flynn at 17:56. Tanner House would officially end BU's chance when he added an empty-netter just 20 seconds later at 18:08.
Maine will move on to the Hockey East Championship Saturday night where they will face Boston College at 7 p.m.
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