The University of Maine’s No.-9 ranked hockey team had allowed only three power-play goals through its first eight games this season.
But Boston University cashed in on its first three power-play opportunities and the eighth-ranked Terriers went on to hold off the Black Bears and post a 3-2 victory at Parker Rink in Agganis Arena in Boston on Friday night.
BU improved to 7-3-1 overall and 4-1-1 in Hockey East while UMaine fell to 6-2-1 and 3-1-1.
The teams will conclude their two-game series on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Terriers are now 6-1-1 over their last eight games and have won four straight against UMaine and eight of the last nine.
UMaine had its four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) snapped.
UMaine also had been 4-0 in Friday night games this season.
UMaine outshot BU 31-29.
BU goalie Mathieu Caron, a Brown University transfer, finished with 29 saves while reigning Hockey East Goaltender of the Week Victor Ostman made 26 stops.
Both goalies made a number of terrific saves.
BU had a 34-24 edge in faceoffs against a UMaine team that came into the game with the nation’s best faceoff percentage, having won 55.8 percent of them.
BU went 3-for-5 with the man advantage while UMaine was 1-for-3.
BU had the nation’s 14th-best power play entering the contest at 23.3 percent while UMaine’s penalty kill percentage was 11th best (88 percent).
Sophomore left wing Thomas Freel scored his first goal of the season just 14 seconds into the game to give the Black Bears a short-lived 1-0 lead.
But freshman phenom Macklin Celebrini answered just 1:41 later with his team-leading ninth of the season.
Celebrini, who could be the first overall pick in this June’s National Hockey League draft, entered the game leading the country in points per game (2).
Sophomore center Ryan Greene broke the tie 5:09 into the second period with his fourth of the year and freshman defenseman and first round National Hockey League draft pick Tom Willander (Vancouver, 11th overall) expanded the lead with his second just 2:46 later.
“You can’t take back-to-back penalties against a power play like that with that much skill,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr. “Penalties really hurt us in the second period.”
Freel scored a power play goal halfway through the third period, but that’s as close as the Black Bears were to get.
Freel opened the scoring when his wraparound attempt deflected past Caron off a BU player’s stick.
Celebrini answered with a one-timer from the circle to Ostman’s right off a feed from Lane Hutson, who was the first defenseman in Hockey East history to win the scoring title last season en route to being a first team All-American and Hobey Baker Award finalist.
BU made it 2-1 after Quinn Hutson, Lane’s brother, skated from left to right across the middle of the slot before snapping a pass across to the far post where it deflected off Greene into the net.
Willander extended the lead with a wrist shot from the middle of the point that slipped past Ostman’s left pad.
Freel pulled UMaine within one when he was parked to the left of Caron and chipped home the rebound off a Josh Nadeau one-timer which was set up by a pass off the stick of his brother Bradly.
The Black Bears were without injured junior center Nolan Renwick and sophomore defenseman Grayson Arnott.
“When we played simple and got pucks in deep [into the offensive zone], we were fine. When we tried to make plays that weren’t there and turned the puck over, that’s a problem,” said Barr.