Junior forward Matt Nieto scores hat trick for Terriers

Matt Nieto scored three goals for the Terriers

BOSTON, Mass. - Junior Matt Nieto erased a 1-0 deficit with a natural hat trick and freshman Sean Maguire made a career-high 49 saves to lead the No. 19 Boston University men's ice hockey team to a 3-1 victory over Vermont in the opener of a weekend series at Agganis Arena on Friday evening.

BU improves to 16-14-2 overall and 13-9-2 in Hockey East play and is now tied with No. 20 Providence for fourth in the Hockey East standings while remaining two points shy of first place.

Nieto, who has scored BU's last five goals after getting the final two in Tuesday's win over No. 17 Merrimack, scored back-to-back power-play tallies to give BU the lead after the visitors got on the board first at 18:27 of the first.

The junior got the equalizer just 68 seconds after the Catamounts' strike to send the teams into the first intermission in a 1-1 deadlock. Another power-play chance early in the second set the stage for the go-ahead goal by Nieto at the 4-minute mark.

The natural hat trick was completed at 4:47 of the third when Nieto finished off a 2-on-2 rush with sophomore Evan Rodrigues, who assisted on the final two markers. Freshman Danny O'Regan also registered two helpers.

Maguire stopped the final 40 shots he faced, including 22 in the third period alone, to improve to 8-6-0 on the year.

Vermont (10-6-5, 7-12-5 HE) got a 29-save performance from freshman Brody Hoffman. Junior Chris McCarthy opened the scoring with his team-leading 10th goal of the season.

Sophomore Cason Hohmann won 18 of 20 faceoffs for the Terriers, who went 2-for-6 on the power play. UVM came up empty on its three chances with the man advantage.

The hat trick was the first by a Terrier since Brandon Yip achieved the feat on March 6, 2009, at Providence. Jason Lawrence recorded the team's most recent natural hat trick just seven days prior at Massachusetts.

The Terriers will attempt to earn a sweep in its season series with the Catamounts when the teams return to the ice on Saturday (March 2) for a 7 p.m. start.