BOSTON, Mass. - The No. 14/13 Boston University men's ice hockey team could not overcome a three-goal first period by UMass Lowell, as the visiting River Hawks posted a 4-1 victory on Saturday evening at Agganis Arena to force a third and decisive game in the teams' Hockey East quarterfinal series.
Junior Chris Higgins scored the lone goal for the Terriers, who move to 18-16-4 on they year. Sophomore Paul Worthington had a hand in all three of UMass Lowell's first-period tallies, recording a goal and two assists. The River Hawks improved to an even 16-16-4.
The loss snapped BU's seven-game winning streak - dating back to Feb. 1 - and was just the team's second loss in its last 12 games.
After entering the first intermission with a 3-0 deficit, the Terriers outshot the River Hawks by a 34-14 margin the final two periods, but had a tough time solving sophomore goaltender Carter Hutton, who turned in a 41-save performance.
Senior Karson Gillespie earned the start in goal for the Terriers, but was replaced after the first period, during which he made seven saves. Sophomore Brett Bennett stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced over the last two stanzas.
Just like they did on Friday, the River Hawks scored on their first power-play chance of the game. Sophomore Ben Holmstrom scored at 6:52 when he snuck the puck past Gillespie on assists from classmates Jeremy Dehner and Worthington.
Just under four minutes later, sophomore Kory Falite netted his team-leading 17th tally of the year, earning what would be the game winner. Worthington and sophomore Steve Capraro assisted on the play.
The three-goal run was capped with exactly two minutes left to play in the first, as sophomore Barry Goers intercepted a puck just outside the River Hawks' zone and fed Worthington, who finished off the play with his third goal of the year.
The Terriers put together a strong effort the rest of the way, but were only able to get one puck past Hutton. Following a battle for the puck along the left boards, senior Bryan Ewing skated behind the net and out to the right circle before sending a pass to Higgins, who knocked home the offer from the slot at 10:17 of the second.
Looking to make it a one-goal game, BU had a flurry of high-percentage shots in the final minutes of the second, but Hutton stopped each one along with all of the Terriers' 20 shots on goal in the third.
UMass Lowell earned an insurance goal at 12:04 of the third when freshman Patrick Cey picked off a pass in the BU zone and took it in himself before beating Bennett high glove side.
The two teams will face off at Agganis Arena on Sunday (March 16) at 7 p.m. for the right to advance to next Friday's Hockey East semifinal round at the TD Banknorth Garden.