PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Boston University and Providence are no strangers to overtime. The two teams have needed the extra frame in four of their last seven meetings, including last year’s double overtime thriller in the final game of a playoff series.
Friday was no different as Providence rallied from two goals down in the third to force overtime and an eventual 5-5 tie with BU.
The Terriers had the game all but sealed with a two-goal lead and only eight minutes left to play. They were dominating the flow in the third period and looked to score a third unanswered goal to slam the door shut on any hopes of a comeback.
“They were going on a 5-on-3 advantage and Nolan [Schaefer] had been shaken up on the play before,” said Providence coach Paul Pooley. “He skated over to the bench and I was thinking we would have to get the backup warm, but he told us he was fine and ready play.”
Schaefer showed no signs of injury as he backstopped the Friars to a kill, keeping Providence in the game.
“I thought we were playing our best hockey of the contest at that point,” said Boston University coach Jack Parker. “We had six or seven good scoring chances on the two-man advantage. I couldn’t believe that we didn’t score and then we broke down with undisciplined play.”
While on the power play, BU’s Justin Maiser got whistled for high-sticking, much to the chagrin of Parker and the Terriers, putting Providence on a short advantage.
“We wanted to score two power-play goals tonight,” said Pooley. “Things were moving in the right direction as far as that was concerned and we got our chance in the third.”
Providence capitalized on Maiser’s miscue, scoring their second power-play goal of the night to cut the lead to one. Devin Rask was able to lift a loose puck over the outstretched glove of Terrier goalie Sean Fields for his sixth of the season.
“The fourth goal was the biggest of the night for us,” said Pooley. “You can’t score the fifth without that one; it was certainly a huge lift for us. That goal gave us a chance to tie the game.”
“The biggest flaw in tonight’s game was discipline,” said Parker. “We give them the power play and they score. We had really outplayed them until then the third period. We shut down their offense and then we come back and give them the game.”
With less than two minutes left to play, it seemed that Boston University would be able to cling to the one-goal lead and escape with a victory despite the costly mistake.
“Providence only had five shots in the third period,” said Parker. “It’s unthinkable that we lose that period, but discipline struck again. Obviously it was a huge problem tonight.”
“Their defenseman skated the puck up through the crease,” said Providence captain Jon DiSalvatore. “I jumped on it and went across the grain for the easy empty net goal.”
With that score, the Friars had done the “unthinkable” and knotted the game with just over a minute to play in the third period.
The teams went on to play an exciting overtime, but neither was able to come away with the game winner.
“There’s an old adage that a tie on the road is a good thing, but we have to be disappointed with giving this game away,” said Parker. “I thought we really had this thing in the bag.”
“Obviously a tie is better than a loss,” said DiSalvatore. “We needed to go out and play this game like it was do or die. Although we didn’t get the win, we certainly showed a lot of heart and were able to take a point.”
Said Pooley, “Any point in this league is hard to come by. Even though we were playing for the win, you’ve got to be happy to come away with the tie when you’re down five to three in the third.”
Neither goaltender looked incredibly sharp, combining for 10 goals allowed. Fields made 31 saves, but only five came after the second period. Schaefer made 17 in the final 25 minutes to finish the game with 33.
Both squads look to continue the offensive barrage, as Providence heads up to New Hampshire on Sunday, and Boston University faces off against Boston College next Friday.