CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — It was a game short on drama and long on control by Boston College. Before it was even half over, BC had taken a 4-1 lead and Providence never seriously threatened after that.
Both teams entered the contest having won three of their last four after slow starts, but the Eagles left little doubt as to which squad was coming closer to its expected midseason form.
They wasted no time grabbing a 2-0 lead little more than five minutes into the game on goals by Ben Eaves and Ales Dolinar. Providence defenseman Regan Kelly quickly got one back, only to have BC’s Ryan Murphy reestablish the two-goal margin at the 9:00 mark. After a J.D. Forrest power-play goal made it 4-1 early in the second, it was all but over.
“I think the jump start really helped us,” said Eagle coach Jerry York. “We got some confidence. … We were pretty solid. We didn’t get really scattered. There were a couple flurries where they controlled play, but for the 60 minutes [we were solid].”
As a result of the win, Boston College (5-4-1, 2-2-0 HEA) will enter its Saturday night matchup against archrival Boston University with a three-game win streak and a record above .500 for the first time this year.
“We’ve had good efforts and now we have three wins in a row, which helps our team’s psyche,” said York. “It’s nice to get a modest win streak going.”
For Providence (4-6-0, 3-4-0), the loss marked yet another game in which it fell behind early. The Friars have surrendered the first goal in almost every contest and had to rally from behind in all but one of their four wins.
“When you go down 3-1, it’s a tough mountain to climb, especially when you’re in a building where you haven’t won in a few years,” said PC coach Paul Pooley. “Our first periods have cost us this year in a few games. It’s something we have to solve.”
PC goaltender Nolan Schaefer, who numbered many high-quality saves among his 31 but may have wanted one or two of the goals back, elaborated on his team’s penchant for digging a hole for itself.
“We play on emotion,” he said. “It’s tough the way we’ve been starting in the first period when you’re always getting down a goal or two. Maybe we’ve got to get something going on the positive side early on in the game. Right now, we’re a little slow in the first and it gets us down a little bit. …
“It’s always a little deflating when [they] have a two-goal lead and you take a penalty and the other team scores. What can you say when another team scores a goal to go up by three?”
Eaves got the scoring going at 4:06 of the first period after Tony Voce moved the puck up to A.J. Walker on the left. Walker fed Eaves in front and Schaefer appeared to have made the save, but the puck slid underneath him into the net.
Little more than a minute later, Dolinar tipped an Andrew Alberts shot from the point for a 2-0 lead.
Kelly halved the deficit just 39 seconds later, dropping down from the point and taking a Drew Omicioli feed to beat BC netminder Matti Kaltiainen on the blocker side from 12 feet out.
Schaefer then allowed what appeared to be a soft goal, however, when Murphy’s sharp angle shot from below the left faceoff dot beat the netminder short side.
Providence almost got a huge momentum swing when Mike Robinson fed Drew Omicioli on the far post where the senior put it into the open net. However, the shot came well after the buzzer and was disallowed. Nonetheless, the assistant captain protested in such a way as to be assessed a 10-minute misconduct.
Despite the temporary absence of one of their top offensive players, the Friars opened the second period with some of their best chances, threatening with some odd-man rushes.
Forrest’s power-play one-timer from the inside hash marks, however, seemed to take the last wind out of the PC sails at 5:23. Although the shots would eventually end even at 11-11 for the period, the Eagles dominated the grade A chances.
They then went on to own a 16-4 third-period shot domination and had only one potential dangerous moment, a Providence five-on-three man advantage that would last 1:13. The Eagle penalty-killers, however, held PC without a shot.
While BC entertains undefeated BU on Saturday, Providence hosts New Hampshire (4-2-2, 3-1-2 HEA).