PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Just when it seemed both teams were happy to benefit from a tie, everything went awry.
Only 53 seconds into overtime — and less than 10 seconds after a controversial too many men on the ice penalty to the Friars had expired — a redirected shot by Boston College’s Andrew Alberts shot found the space to sneak through the legs of Providence goalie Bobby Goepfert. The goal, officially credited to Ned Havern despite video replays to the contrary, handed the second-ranked Eagles a 2-1 win over the Friars at Schneider Arena on Tuesday night.
The goal opened up as many questions about how the goal was scored as it did whether or not there had indeed been six skating Friars on the ice when the penalty was whistled against them.
With 1:16 remaining in regulation and the teams deadlocked at one goal apiece, assistant referee Glenn Cooke made the call from his vantage point immediately in front of the Providence bench. PC coach Paul Pooley emerged from the coaches’ office after the game shaking his head.
“I watched the tape,” Pooley said. “I don’t know what [Cooke] was looking at. It’s obviously his judgment, and he made the decision to call it.”
Providence (8-8-6, 2-7-5 Hockey East) actually killed off the entire two minutes, but the Eagles (17-3-3, 10-1-2) kept the puck in the Friars’ zone beyond the expiration of the penalty. A wrap around the left wing boards ended up on the stick of Alberts at the near point, and he whirled and slapped a drive that was tipped several feet in front of Goepfert’s crease.
Those on the Boston College side said that Havern had put his stick on it. Those outside the Providence dressing room said it was one of their men that tipped it past Goepfert.
“I saw Alberts shoot it,” BC coach Jerry York said. “Then I guess Ned deflected it past Goepfert.”
“Somebody tipped it out in front,” said Pooley. “I thought it was one of our guys, quite honestly. That’s what I thought, and when I asked somebody said it went if off our our guy.”
Either way it stood up as the deciding tally and, unlike in the NHL, there was no single point granted to Providence for an overtime loss.
“There’s not much you can say,” Goepfert said. “We’ve seen it all this year. We couldn’t put them away. You keep a talented team like that in the game long enough and keep giving them chances to score, and they’re going to be successful. It’s another lost two points.”
The Friars led 1-0 on Chris Chaput’s first period power-play goal, an easy tap-in of some garbage left by a Stephen Wood chance. It stayed that way until the opening minute of the third period, when Ryan Shannon swatted his own rebound out of mid-air and past Goepfert (36 saves) to tie it.
For the most part, Providence was able to contain the Eagles transition game and limit their quality scoring chances. For the entire night, the home team erased the memory of a sub-par weekend against Northeastern with its solid play — but it left its weekend home-and-home with a pair of points.
They didn’t get that on Tuesday.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the outcome,” Pooley said. “It was a good game, and we executed for much of the night. But you know what? They found a way to win and we didn’t.”
York gave his team credit for its start-to-finish performance — especially after coming off two emotional weekend wins over cross-town rival Boston University.
“If you want to be a championship team, you have to be able to move on to the next game,” York said. “Average teams have a hard time with what we call a trap game, where you play your arch-rival twice and then have to travel to Providence on a Tuesday night, but championship level teams can do that. I thought we competed hard for 60 minutes.”