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No. 7/8 Terriers trump UConn in Hockey East opener

A strong showing in the third period helped the Terriers down the Huskies in their first taste of conference play.

Senior Danny O'Regan tallied three assists in BU's 4-2 victory over UConn.
Senior Danny O'Regan tallied three assists in BU's 4-2 victory over UConn.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

BOSTON —A strong finish helped No. 7/8 Boston University open its conference schedule in impressive fashion, as the Terriers defeated UConn by a score of 4-2 Saturday evening at Agganis Arena.

After skating to a 1-1 stalemate through the first two periods, the Terriers (2-1) dominated the Huskies (2-2) over the final frame, outshooting their opponent by a 15-3 margin while converting on two power plays.

"I thought through two periods, we were incredibly cute, which isn’t going to get us anywhere in this game," said BU head coach David Quinn. "And then in the third period, we really simplified it. … It was a hard-fought win, which most wins are in this league, and it’s nice to be 1-0."

Senior Danny O’Regan paced the Terriers with three assists, while freshman Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and sophomore Brandon Fortunato each added two points apiece. Senior goaltender Sean Maguire earned his first win since Feb. 28, 2014, stopping 16 shots in the process.

Freshman Max Letunov provided the offense for the Huskies, scoring both of his team’s goals on the night, while junior goalie Rob Nichols recorded 29 saves in the loss.

Both squads traded scoring chances and power-play opportunities throughout the opening period before BU finally broke through in the waning minutes of the stanza.

A quick shot from Forsbacka Karlsson recoiled off of Nichols and careened to freshman Ryan Cloonan — who promptly fired the puck into the net off of a backhand to put BU on the board at 17:29.

BU’s slim lead would not last for long, as the Huskies quickly evened the score in the second — off the stick of a former Terrier recruit, no less, in Letunov. Gathering a pass in the slot from senior Kyle Huson, Letunov beat Maguire with an impressive backhand strike at 4:48 for his fourth goal of the year.

The Terriers reasserted themselves over the final 20 minutes, regaining the lead thanks to Forsbacka Karlsson’s power-play score at 5:50.

Lurking near the high slot, Forsbacka Karlsson received the puck off of a crisp pass from O’Regan before sniping it past Nichols’ glove for his first collegiate goal.

BU would put the game away later in the period after UConn’s Spencer Naas was whistled for kneeing at 6:38 — giving the Terriers a five-minute stint on the man advantage.

Just about halfway through their extended power-play possession, the Terriers finally cashed in, with sophomore Brandon Fortunato tallying his second goal in as many games at 8:50.

After UConn pulled Nichols in lieu of an extra skater with 1:15 remaining, both teams traded goals to close out the night — with Letunov and sophomore Brandon Hickey lighting the lamp for UConn and BU, respectively.

While the Terriers’ victory might look good on paper, Quinn noted that his team still has much to work on before BU’s home-and-home finale against UConn on Tuesday at XL Center.

"I thought our D struggled," Quinn acknowledged. "I thought that’s as bad as we’ve played as a D-corps unit from a puck-management standpoint. We held onto it way too long, we weren’t making stick-to-stick passes, we were just very sloppy and that certainly attributed to a lot of our problems tonight."