ORONO — It was a fairly evenly matched hockey game Friday, but no one told Ahti Oksanen.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound senior forward from Finland was too big, too quick and too polished for Maine to handle. The result was a 5-2 Boston University victory before an announced crowd of 4,474 at Alfond Arena.

Oksanen had two goals and two assists to lead the No. 11 Terriers (12-7-4, 6-4-3 Hockey East).

“He skated tonight,” BU Coach David Quinn said of his Finnish star, who combined with the 6-5, 230-pound Jordan Greenway to put pressure on the Black Bears throughout the game. “Those two guys are big, strong, NHL bodies.

“When they get in, they’ve got stick skills too. They know how to protect it. I don’t care who we’re playing, if they’re moving their feet and not being defendable, it’s going to be very difficult for people to handle those two guys.”

Maine (5-14-6, 2-7-2) can certainly attest to that. Oksanen scored BU’s second goal with a back-hander that finished off a two-on-one sequence. He stole a puck in deep and started another series of great passes to set up Mike Moran for the Terriers’ third goal, after the Black Bears had cut the lead to 2-1. And he finished the scoring late in the third period, just 24 seconds after another Maine power-play goal had trimmed the deficit to 4-2.

“We just need to be better in our own end. They were able to grind us better than any other team,” Maine Coach Red Gendron said. “They’ve got some mobile defensemen that they can utilize in their cycles. We’ve just got to do a better job of getting on them, getting a body on them and stopping their momentum. If they’re allowed to skate around in our zone all night long, the likelihood of them coming free increases.”

The shots on goal were even at 34-34. Terriers goaltender Sean Maguire made some huge saves to keep his team in front throughout.

Maine got a pair of goals with the man advantage, first when junior center Cam Brown broke in on Maguire and shifted the puck to his backhand. It was one of nine shots on goal by Brown, who was stonewalled by Maguire on two other great attempts.

Junior forward Blaine Byron got Maine’s second goal, swooping into the crease to slam a rebound past Maguire at 17:01 of the third.

“We wanted to go to the net better and get more pucks to the net on the power play, and that’s precisely what happened,” Gendron said after his team entered play scoreless on its previous 23 chances.

Oksanen and his linemates, including center Matt Lane, always had the answer.

“We haven’t been a grinding type of team as people that have watched us know. It comes and goes,” Quinn said of a Terriers squad that played in the national championship game a year ago. “That team (Maine), I know what their record is and they’re well-coached and it is no fun playing them.”

The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday in Boston.

The second games of series have not been kind to the Black Bears this year. They are 2-6-1 in series finales, and have been outscored 32-10.

Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH


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