BOSTON – Boston University senior center Chris Drury had gone four games and 35 shots on goal without putting the puck in the back of the net. He was seeking to become BU’s all-time leading career goal scorer.
The magical moment came at the 9:23 mark of the second period and led the Terriers to a thrilling 4-3 victory over the University of Maine Black Bears.
Drury’s 99th career goal, which snapped the previous mark shared by John Cullen and Bob Marquis, gave BU a 3-1 lead and Chris Kelleher’s power-play goal with 2:57 left in the period upped the margin to 4-1.
Drury’s goal came off a little feed from Nick Gillis.
“Nick made a great saucer pass and I took a quick wrist shot that kind of fluttered,” said Drury of his 16-footer that went between Michaud’s pads.
Drury said he was relieved to get the record out of the way because the team was also struggling to score.
The Bears, who had scored just one goal in their three games, battled back valiantly in the third period to pull within 4-3 on goals by David Cullen (John’s first cousin) and Steve Kariya (power play) early in the period.
BU goalie Tommy Noble came up with some good stops and the Terriers held on.
Cullen was set up beautifully by Kariya and Bobby Stewart with Stewart’s backhand pass leaving Cullen a wide open net.
Kariya then snapped a Maine string of 14 unsuccessful power plays by coming out of the corner to the right of BU goalie Tommy Noble and roofed a post-to-post feed from Cullen into the short side.
“We played a great third period, but we got to put together 60 minutes of hockey,” Kariya said.
BU’s Drury and Noble said even with a 4-1 lead they figured Maine would battle back in tthe third period.
“Kariya creates havoc. We knew they weren’t going to die,” Drury said.
The Bears had a few chances to tie with Tuomo Jaaskelainen getting the best chance when he was set up alone in front by Kariya.
“I tried to go over the blocker but the goalie got it,” Jaaskelainen said.
Noble said it was a “bang-bang play” and then he got his blocker on it.
BU is now 15-4-2 overall, 8-3-2 in Hockey East. Maine is now 9-10-3, 6-8-2. The Bears have lost three in a row and are mired in a four-game winless streak (0-3-1).
The two teams battle again tonight.
Sophomore defenseman Tom Poti had a pair of first-period goals for BU after Maine’s Cory Larose had opened the scoring.
Later in the second period, with Maine’s Shawn Wansborough serving a cross checking penalty, the Bears’ Stewart came off the bench on a line change and beat Noble on a breakaway.
However, referee Jim Fitzgerald ruled Stewart came onto the ice too soon and gave Maine a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Maine killed off the 1:06 two-man disadvantage but with just six seconds left in the second penalty, Kelleher’s slap shot from the midpoint beat Michaud. Michaud said he never saw the screened drive.
Stewart maintained that teammate Anders Lundback was within three feet of the bench the team shouldn’t have been penalized.
With 3:37 left in the game, Maine’s Brian White got tangled up with Drury in the corner and White was called for roughing.
White said Drury grabbed his stick and should have been penalized.
Drury agreed, saying, “I lost my stick and just grabbed the nearest stick. I can’t believe they didn’t give me a penalty, too.”
Maine would have had a 4-on-3 power play because 1:01 later BU’s Tommi Degerman was called for using an illegal stick.
Maine wound up with an abbreviated 5-on-4 power play but failed to convert.
Walsh was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We’re getting better. We had a lot of road adversity, but we came through it with flying colors,” he said.
The game got off to a promising start for the Bears when Larose converted a two-on-one with Marcus Gustafsson just 1:58 into the game.
Gustafsson chipped the puck around a BU defenseman at the defensive blue line and broke down the left wing before slipping the puck over to Larose, who briefly settled the puck down and lifted a 13-footer over BU goalie Noble into the short side.
Poti scored his first goal of the period at the 7:15 mark off a great set-up from Bobby Hanson. Hanson sailed around Maine freshman defenseman A.J. Begg at the offensive blue line, creating a two-on-one, and then slid it to Poti who one-timed it into the open short side.
Poti’s second goal ended an 0-for-30 power-play drought for the Terriers dating back to Dec. 9.
Kelleher took a wrist shot from the mid-point that was saved by Michaud but the rebound dropped into the low slot. Several Terriers had whacks at the puck and Poti eventually batted it over Michaud.
Terriers 4, Black Bears 3
Maine (9-10-3) 1 0 2 – 4 Boston University (15-4-2) 1 0 2 – 5
First period – 1. Maine, Larose (Gustafsson), 1:58; 2. BU, Poti (Hanson, Kelleher), 7:15; 3. BU, Poti (Drury, Kelleher), 10:56, (ppg); Penalties: BU, Drury, slashing, 8:05; Maine, Wansborough, interference, 9:59; Maine, Jaaskelainen, elbowing, 17:10;
Second period – 4. BU, Drury (Gillis, Degerman), 9:23; 5. BU, Kelleher (Gillis, Drury), 17:03, (ppg); Penalties: Maine, Wansborough, cross checking, 14:15; Maine bench, too many men on the ice (served by Stewart), 15:09;
Third period – 6. Maine, Cullen (Kariya, Stewart), 1:11; 7. Maine, Kariya (Cullen, Kerluke), 5:02, (ppg); Penalties: BU, Vuori, interference, 4:20; Maine, Gustafsson, holding, 8:13; Maine, White, roughing, 16:23; BU, Degerman, 2-minute misconduct for improper stick, 17:24; BU, Degerman, 10-minute misconduct, 17:24
Shots on goal: Maine 10-8-11-29; BU 15-12-11-38
Goaltenders: Maine, Alfie Michaud; BU, Tom Noble
Power-play opportunities: Maine 1 of 3; BU 2 of 6