NORTH ANDOVER, MA – In the first-ever top-10 matchup at Lawler Arena, #3 Boston University ended #4 Merrimack's two-game winning streak with a 4-1 victory Friday night at a sold out Lawler Arena.
Merrimack (14-6-5, 10-5-3 HEA) will head to Amherst Saturday to open its season series with Massachusetts at 7 p.m. The game can be heard live on 1400 AM locally and at merrimackathletics.com. BU (16-8-1, 13-6-1 HEA) takes on Harvard in the first round of the Beanpot Monday at 5 p.m.
In a matchup that featured the top two active goaltenders in career wins, Kieran Millan got the better of Merrimack, making 28 stops for his 75th career win.
The Terriers came out flying and needed just 1:29 to get on the board as Chris Connolly beat a screened Joe Cannata (Wakefield, MA) for his third of the season to give the visitors the 1-0 lead. BU stretched off the opening faceoff, resulting in a breakaway for Alex Chiasson and a rebound chance by Matt Nieto, but Cannata made both saves just 23 seconds into the game.
Merrimack had five second-period power plays but failed to muster much of anything offensively, managing just two shots, while Sahir Gill and Chiasson scored 54 seconds apart midway through the period to propel BU to a 3-0 lead after two periods. Adam Clendening had assists on both goals, as Gill redirected his shot for the first tally of the second period.
Connolly sealed the game with his second of the game on the power play, as he was left open in front of Cannata and backhanded it past the Hobey Baker candidate for his third point of the game at 14:29.
Friday's game marked the first time since Merrimack last played BU (seven games ago) that they surrendered more than two goals in a game.
The loss dropped Merrimack to fifth place in Hockey East, but the Warriors remain just two points behind second-place BC, who is idle all weekend. Merrimack can tie the Eagles with a win Saturday in Amherst.
Merrimack did outshoot BU 29-20 in the loss, marking just the second time this season it lost when outshooting its opponents; the other time was at BU on January 6.
Connolly and Nieto each had three points in the win, while Clendening has a pair of assists on the blue line, giving him 22 helpers on the season.