CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The train that is Boston College just keeps on rolling. Providence can find a small ray of solace in the fact that the Eagles aren’t making the Friars their only victims, either.
No. 2 Boston College blanked Providence at Kelley Rink on Friday night, 4-0, to take all three games in the season series between the Eagles and Friars. BC improved to 19-3-3 overall and 12-1-2 in Hockey East. The Eagles’ winning streak extended itself to six straight on the strength of a pair of goals from Patrick Eaves, and they’ve lost only once in their last 19 tries (16-1-2).
In fact, this is the best start by a Boston College team since it opened the 1986-87 campaign by winning 20 of its first 24 outings (20-4-0).
In addition to the Eaves goals, defenseman Peter Harrold and winger Dave Spina also scored. Spina’s tally, his third this season after missing 17 games with an ankle injury, came shorthanded late in the third period. Matti Kaltiainen put in a light 14-save night’s worth of work to post his second shutout of the season.
In the three meetings this season, BC outscored PC by a 13-5 count.
No one has to tell Providence coach Paul Pooley that the team selected by the coaches in their preseason poll to win Hockey East outright is living up to the billing.
“They’re a pretty good team,” Pooley said of the Eagles. “There’s no question that they’re an outstanding hockey club. The thing is that they’re so deep, but they have so much speed, too. They get on you, and they put you back on your heels a little bit if you’re not keeping the game simple.”
The Friars (10-9-6, 2-8-5 in Hockey East) started slowly in this one, and it cost them dearly.
Eaves’ top-shelf snap shot from the right side opened the scoring 3:24 in, and after losing a draw in its own zone, Providence watched as Harrold walked up the half-boards, cut to the net and handcuffed David Cacciola (29 saves) with a soft backhander from all of 18 inches out.
That goal came at the 7:42 mark and all but put the game away in the early stages.
PC fumbled through four straight power plays, three in the second period, in trying to claw back into contention but the Eagles weren’t having any of it. The Friars finished up with an 0-for-7 with the man-advantage.
Eaves added some insurance less than five minutes into the third, and Spina followed later with his shorty.
“I think it was a real solid 60-minute effort from our team,” said BC coach Jerry York. “Our system was good. We were technically very sound tonight.
“There was no give (in Providence) at all. They were going to hang in there to the end, and I thought it was far from over (after two periods). Getting the next goal was a big factor for us.”
“We got down by a couple early on, on a couple of tough goals,” said Pooley. “You have to play these guys a certain way. You have to whittle away at it. It was obviously a tough game from the start, and I thought we whittled away and did some things…but we needed a power-play goal tonight to get us going. It didn’t happen.”
The Eagles have allowed only six goals to the opposition during their six-game winning streak. Now they’ll finally turn their attention to Boston’s annual February hockey showcase — the Beanpot Tournament.
“It’s been a Bill Belichick routine around here all week,” said York, alluding to the head coach of the New England Patriots and his game-to-game philosophy. “We’ve been so good at focusing on one game at a time.”
As for the Friars, their winless spell in Hockey East play reached nine games (0-6-3). All three losses to BC are included in that mark.