BU won its 10th HE title.


Goliath slew Cinderella at 1:57 of overtime in the 38th Hockey East championship game on Saturday night at the TD Garden.

Freshman sensation Lane Hutson scored his second of the game on a slap shot from the blue line to lift No. 5 ranked and top seed Boston University to 3-2 victory over upstart Merrimack before a packed house from both camps.

“I saw Matt Brown had the puck down low and the Merrimack guys were collapsing down on him,” said Hutson, the Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Tournament MVP. “I called for the puck and he put it right on my tape.”

BU (27-10-0, 19-6-0) won its 10th Hockey East title in its 13th championship appearance and secured a No. 2 seed at next weekend’s NCAA Manchester Regional. Michigan, which upset No.1 Minnesota in the Big 10 Championship, is expected to get the No.1 seed at Manchester. Merrimack fell to 23-13-1 and 16-9-0 and is winless in its two Hockey East championship game appearances.

“I am really proud of our group and these guys have been so resilient all year,” said BU coach Jay Pandolfo, who became the only coach to win the title in his first season. “It has made my job real easy and it has made my job easy.

“I know we are not done yet but to get this first one that we really wanted to win this year.”

The contextual enormity of what Merrimack was up against can be found with a peek at the lines chart. BU has 12 NHL draft picks and a Hobey Baker finalist (Lane Hutson) on its roster and the Terriers swept the regular season series. Merrimack has three NHL draft picks.

“The only real disappointment for them is that we were obviously playing for more that just wins and losses and that is what hurts these guys,” said Merrimack coach Scott Borek. “Our whole team played good.”

Boston University entered the missing two influential seniors, both of whom were casualties from the Terriers’ semifinal win over Providence College.

Defenseman Case McCarthy suffered a broken collarbone when he hit the end boards in the third period. First line center Wilmer Skoog was suspended one game by Hockey East for boarding PC’s Cam McDonald at 8:40 of the third. Senior Jay O’Brien filled in for Skoog on first line while freshman Lachlan Getz was added to the third blue line unit.

“We have a lot of leadership on this team, a lot of seniors and juniors and some of out freshman have grown as leaders, Lane being one of them,” said Pandolfo.

Merrimack defensemen Mike Brown was sweating out a hooking call in the cooler when the Warriors went up 1-0 on a short-handed goal by Christian Felton at 6:51 of the first.

Senior right-wing Ben Brar intercepted a back pass to the Terriers’ unattended point and made tracks down the right boards. Brar centered the puck to Brown, who slipped it between Drew Commesso’s pads for his fifth of the season. Brown scored the first shortie in the championship game since 2001.

BU’s rotation took another hit at 18:49 of the first when senior defenseman and team captain Domenick Fensore was drilled against the boards by Merrimack center Tristan Crozier and left the game.

BU opened the second period with a 5-on-3 advantage when Brown and Brar were penalized 10 seconds apart in the final minute of the first. Fensore returned and set up the tying goal 38 seconds into the frame. BU was still on a 5-on-3 when Fensore fed Hutson for a one-timer from the right circle for his 13th of the season.

Merrimack went up 2-1 on a set play in the offensive zone at 15:09. Graduate center Tristan Crozier won the draw back to senior left-wing Mac Welsher at the top of the right circle. Welsher uncorked a one-time slapper that beat Commesso for his seventh of the season. BU was up 22-17 in shots on goal after two periods.

BU tied the game 2-2 on a great individual effort by fourth line left wing Devin Kaplan at 9:02 of the third. The freshman from Bridgewater, N.J., made a circular swing through the slot and fired a wrist shot that beat Merrimack goalie Hugo Ollas to the far post for his 10th of the season.

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