The Boston University hockey team opened a 6-1 lead early in the third period and then had to hold on for a 6-5 win over Rensselaer in front of 3737 fans at B.U.'s Walter Brown Arena on Saturday night. It marked the season opener for both teams.
It appeared that it would be a runaway game for the Terriers who got single goals from Brian McConnell, Mark Mullen, Mike Pandolfo, Frantisek Skladany, John Sabo, and David Klema to lead by a 6-1 margin at 2:58 of the third period.
McConnell (2:08) and Mullen (15:36) scored in the first period as B.U., who outshot the Engineers, 22-6, in the opening period, led 2-1 at the break. The Engineers' only goal was scored by Marc Cavosie at the 8:13 mark.
The second period was more of the same as B.U. outshot RPI, 15-4. Pandolfo scored at 3:32, while Skladany made it 4-1 in favor of the Terriers at 7:54.
Sabo (0:26) and Klema (2:58) increased the Terriers' lead to 6-1 in the opening minutes of the third period before RPI began to battle back in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Cavosie, who would finish the game with a hat trick, began the comeback with a shorthanded goal at 10:30 of the third period. That was followed by a goal by Ryan Shields at 15:12, another shorthanded goal this time by Matt Murley at 15:55, and Cavosie's third goal of the game at 19:03.
Murley came within a post of tying the game with one second left when his shot hit the post to the right of Terrier goalie Sean Fields. Fields earned the win as he made 14 saves, while Nathan Masters had 35 saves in the losing effort. Masters played the first 42:58 and allowed all six goals. Kevin Kurk finished the game and had 13 saves.
"We played a fabulous game for 54 minutes," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker, who entered his 29th season on a winning note. Parker, who is 23-6 in his season openers as the B.U. head coach, improved his overall record to 631-315-61.
"I liked our quickness and poise in the first two periods," the coach continued. "Then we thought the game was over, and we got full of ourselves.
"In the final 10 minutes, they got to all the loose pucks, and it was ridiculous at the end," concluded the coach. "We just weren't as thorough in the end as we had been in the first 54 minutes of the game.
"It's hard to come away from a win not feeling great about ourselves."
"We got away from our game in the third period," said Sabo, who finished the game with a goal and an assist. "In the first period, we made the small plays that led to the big plays.
"Maybe we thought too much of ourselves after the first two periods, and we let our guard down," continued Sabo. "They showed us we can't let our guard down at all."
"We stood around for 40 minutes, and we got in too big a hole," said RPI coach Dan Fridgen . "We didn't have any initiative, and, as a result, we didn't have the puck in the first two periods.
"But, we picked up the momentum in the third period and battled hard," concluded the coach. "Our penalty killers did a great job (The Terriers were 1-for-10 on the power play), we scored two shorthanded goals, and we came a post short of tying the game."