In final home game, BU sends Parker out with Hockey East quarterfinal series win
BOSTON -- In head coach Jack Parker's final home game, No. 18 Boston University posted a 5-3 victory against Merrimack on Saturday evening to sweep its Hockey East quarterfinal series and advance to TD Garden for a semifinal showdown with archrival Boston College.
The third-seeded Terriers (20-15-2) erased three one-goal deficits before taking a 4-3 lead on a goal at the crease by Ben Rosen with 14:49 left in regulation.
Cason Hohmann and Sahir Gill each had one goal and one assist while Matt Nieto notched the 100th point of his career by potting his team-leading 17th goal of the season. Sam Kurker notched a key power-play goal and Sean Maguire made 39 saves to earn his fourth consecutive victory.
The game marked the final time Parker coached in front of a home crowd in his 40-year coaching career, as he announced Monday that he will retire at the end of the season.
BU, which earned a 3-0 shutout in Friday's series opener, advanced to the league semifinals for the 11th time in the past 12 seasons.
Sixth-seeded Merrimack (15-17-6) got a 29-save performance from Sam Marotta and goals from John Gustafsson, Mike Collins and Shawn Bates.
BU went two of five on the power play and had its streak of successful penalty kills come to an end at 21 thanks to a 2-for-3 performance by Merrimack on the man advantage.
Bates scored the lone goal of the first on a power-play tally with just a minute remaining in the period. BU erased that 1-0 deficit just seconds after a power play expired early in the first when Danny O'Regan spotted Nieto in the slot, where he buried a shot to become just the third Terrier since 2000 to reach the century mark before the end of his junior season.
Skating on another man advantage, the Warriors took the lead again three minutes later on a wrister by Collins from the right circle.
The teams went back and forth toward the late stages of the second, beginning with another equalizer from the Terriers. Hohmann followed up his own shot from the left circle on the power play to make it 2-2 at the 16:12 mark.
Once again, Merrimack regained the lead, as Gustaffson corralled an errant BU pass and found the corner of the net to make it 3-2 in its favor with 1:60 left in the second.
Kurker sent the teams into the second intermission deadlocked, however, as he punched in a puck at the top of the crease for BU's second power-play goal of the night with just 7.6 seconds left in the middle stanza. Captain Wade Megan and Hohmann assisted on the play.
In the sixth minute of the third, Rosen won a faceoff and got the puck to Matt Lane before skating to the net. Lane backhanded a puck toward Marotta and Rosen got his stick on it before roofing it to give the Terriers the lead for good.
With Marotta pulled, Gill teamed up with Megan to seal the victory with an empty netter with 4.4 seconds left in regulation.
In all, 11 Terriers recorded at least one point. Sean Escobedo and Ahti Oksanen recorded five blocked shots each.
• BU legend Parker announces retirement