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BOSTON, Mass. - The Boston University men's ice hockey team broke a 3-3 tie in the third period with back-to-back goals and went on to hold off Merrimack by a score of 6-4 on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. Junior Colby Cohen potted a pair of goals and junior Nick Bonino posted a career-best four assists to help the Terriers improve to 7-10-3 on the season and 5-8-2 in Hockey East play.
Sophomore goaltender Grant Rollheiser recorded a career-high 39 saves for the Terriers, while Andrew Braithwaite made 21 stops in goal for the Warriors, who slip to 7-12-0 overall and 4-8-0 in conference action.
BU never trailed in the game, holding leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 only to have the visitors answer each time leading up to the decisive third period.
Junior Joe Pereira gave the Terriers the lead for good when he backhanded the puck past Braithwaite from the top of the crease at the 11:53 mark of the third. Under five minutes later, sophomore Chris Connolly took a pass from Bonino on a 2-on-1 rush and attempted to tuck the puck inside the left post. The shot went off Braithwaite before popping up behind him and landing just past the goal line to give BU its first two-goal lead of the night at 5-3.
Merrimack made things interesting late with an extra-attacker goal at the 18:46 mark, but the Terrier defense held off the visitors and sophomore Vinny Saponari capped a three-point night (1g,
2a) with an empty-netter to cap BU's third win in four games.
Chris Barton tallied a goal and two assists for the Warriors, who also got goals from Stephane Da Costa, Joe Cucci and Carter Madsen.
BU went 2-of-6 on the power play and allowed Merrimack one goal on five chances with the man advantage.
Sophomore Ross Gaudet scored his second goal in as many nights when he opened the scoring just 2:25 into the game. A play in transition along the right boards led to Gaudet's tally on a wrister from the right circle with assists going to Pereira and freshman Wade Megan.
Madsen scored an unassisted tally to knot the game for Merrimack at the 12:56 mark but Cohen allowed the Terriers to take a lead into the first intermission when he converted on BU's first power-play chance of the night. Saponari found Cohen with a backhanded cross-crease pass, giving the defenseman a great look from just outside the left post.
The Warriors tied up the game again just 32 seconds into the second period when Da Costa sent home a nice feed from Barton. Karl Stollery picked up his first of two assists on the play.
Cohen struck again on the power play at 7:38 of the second when he drove in a blast from above the left circle with helpers going to junior Kevin Shattenkirk and Bonino, making it a 3-2 affair.
Cucci provided the visitors' third equalizer of the night when he found the back of the net on a man advantage at 10:59 of the middle period on assists by Barton and Stollery.
Pereira's go-ahead goal in the third came off assists by Gaudet and Megan, as his fifth goal of the season ignited the home crowd before Connolly provided what would be a key insurance goal.
The Terriers next take the ice against archrival Boston College on Friday, Jan. 22, in a 7:30 p.m. game that will be televised live by NESN. Merrimack returns to action that same night with a road contest at UMass Lowell that will begin at 7 p.m.