CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Opponents take note: if you want to have any success against Boston College, your best bet is to allow plenty of shots.
For the third time this season, the No. 2 Eagles eclipsed the 50-shot plateau. And for the third time, BC walked away without a victory.
Saturday night that was due to the outstanding play of Providence goaltender David Cacciola, who made 60 saves and allowed just one goal to force a 1-1 tie.
The Eagles earlier this season posted 52 shots in a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame and 54 shots in a 3-3 tie with Massachusetts.
BC coach Jerry York couldn’t do much but shake his head and compliment the Friars and their goaltender.
“I thought our effort was very good and we produced, especially as the game went on, a lot of goal-scoring chances,” said York, whose club was winless in its first two-game league weekend this season, having fallen, 3-2, at Boston University on Friday. “You have to give credit. Cacciola played well and I thought we did everything right except put a red light on.”
For Cacciola, the 60-save performance was a career high and the fourth-highest total in Providence history. More importantly, it was redemption from what Cacciola himself deemed a disappointing start to this season.
“I feel like I’ve been underperforming this season,” said Cacciola, who grew up in nearby Burlington, Mass., and entered Saturday with a 3-5-0 record, a 2.77 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. “I’m pretty tired of losing and I love coming back to the city I grew up in and playing well.”
Providence coach Paul Pooley might have had a hunch in sticking with Cacciola despite a 3-2 loss Friday night at UMass, but hunch or not, the move paid dividends.
“We talked about it today and [backup goalie] Tyler [Sims] plays pretty composed and had a good game against [BC] last time,” said Pooley. “But we said, ‘Let’s see what David’s got in him.’ We went back with him and he showed we can rely on him.”
Obviously, Cacciola faced plenty of offense but it wasn’t until the third period that those BC chances were of the highest quality. It was with 11:32 remaining, just minutes after the Eagles had tied the game at one, that Cacciola made his best stop.
Patrick Eaves, who scored BC’s only goal on the night at 4:30 of the third on the power play, found Ned Havern alone in the slot. Havern wasted no time getting off a blistering one-timer that Cacciola slapped his left pad on to keep the game tied.
In overtime, though Cacciola made his final four saves, a little help from the post saved the day.
At the two-minute mark, Havern again had the game on his stick. His acceleration over the blueline gave him distance between the Providence defense and let Havern in alone. Making a signature move, he perfectly deked Cacciola, but with enough room to stuff the puck Havern hit the right post to keep the game tied.
A scoreless first period saw BC hold a 14-10 advantage in shots but it was the Friars with the best chance of the frame. Just seconds into a power play after Ryan Shannon was sent off for tripping at 6:44, Bryan Horan found Jon Rheault at the left post. BC goaltender Cory Schneider (28 saves), moving swiftly left to right, flashed a quick right pad to keep the game scoreless.
In the second, BC began to take the play to Providence, but the Friars were successful at limiting the Eagles’ chances to the perimeter. With Cacciola holding the Eagles off the scoreboard, the Friars’ top line gave PC the lead midway through on a fluke goal.
Rookie winger Jamie Carroll was credited with the tally. Sitting below the left faceoff dot, he fired a no-look centering pass that appeared to deflect off Schneider’s stick and between his legs at 9:19 for the 1-0 Providence lead.
BC came within inches of tying the game late in the period. Dave Spina was in tight on Cacciola and fired a high shot that the goalie couldn’t react to. The shot hit the crossbar and dropped down, only to be cleared by the Providence defense to maintain the one-goal lead through two.
In the third, a period in which BC outshot the Friars, 23-9, the Eagles tied the game on the power play. Eaves’ one-timer from the left point caught Cacciola moving to even the score and set up an exciting finish and the eventual tie.
It is the second time that these two clubs have tied this season, as Providence earned a 2-2 draw at home on November 19. The two won’t square off for the rubber match until February 4.
Each club has one game remaining before the holiday break. BC will host Northeastern on Friday night, while Providence will travel to Rensselaer this upcoming Wednesday.