BOSTON — Chris Donovan had a few opportunities to score throughout the game, including a breakaway in the first but was unable to find the back of the net. Until it really counted. In overtime, the sophomore came streaking down the Providence College netminder Tyler Sims’ right side and scored 44 seconds into overtime.
“I got a great pass from Costello, and I didn’t want to butcher another breakaway during the game, so I saw the corner and just took a shot and it went in,” the young forward said after the game.
“He can really skate . . . he had some great chances and I was happy in the end he was able to put that one in overtime away” coach Greg Cronin said after the game when asked about John Donovan.
As Matthews Arena began to fill with more than a half an hour before the drop of the puck, you could feel the energy for this was year three in Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin’s rebuilding process. Not to be out done, Providence College head coach Tim Army was also in his third year behind the PC bench.
Sporting new black, grey, and white jerseys the Friars were missing a few of their biggest weapons. Both Tony Mazzolini and John Cavanagh were out of the lineup. The Husky veterans were completely healthy and now complimented by a fresh group of newcomers that have come in with more expectations than perhaps any previous freshmen class.
The first period was a back and forth affair without too many great opportunities for either side. Most of the play was dominated by neutral zone action with neither team getting a true advantage.
The second period started out fast with PC getting on the board first when Matt Taormina took a hard shot from the point that found its way over the shoulder of Brad Thieseen who never saw it coming in. On the goal, Jon Rheault and Ben Farrer collected assists.
Northeastern quickly rebounded, however, when less than two minutes later Ryan Ginand and Chris Donovan came in on a two-on-one. Ginand faked pass the entire time selling goalie Tyler Sims on it as well, but ended up shooting and scoring.
“[Cronin's] been saying this whole week in practice shoot the puck, shoot the puck, that’s all that was going through my head.” Getting an assist on the goal was freshmen Steve Silva, his first collegiate point.
One might think that the two goals would open up the play, but you’d be wrong, almost immediately after both teams shut things down once again, and very few opportunities came around. Neutral Zone play remained the name of the game.
The third period featured two more goals. Less than five minutes in, Northeastern captain Joe Vitale attempted to clear the puck out his own zone from his stomach, but when he slapped at the puck it went right to the stick of Kyle Laughlin who made no mistake by putting it in the back of the net.
Ryan Ginand netted his second goal of the game on a power play tally. Jordon Kremyr was issued a game misconduct and ejected for a five minute major for checking from behind. It took Northeastern four minutes and 49 seconds-nearly the entire power play-to score. Freshmen defensemen Drew Muench took a shot from the point and even though the initial save was made by Sims, the rebound went to Ginand who buried it. Chad Costello also collected an assist.
“He’s been a gifted offensive guy, we tried to get him to play both sides of the puck, which I think he was able to do, at training camp he made a commitment, you could tell right away that he was changed.” Coach Greg Cronin said after the game.
In a game of three firsts for Northeastern: first game, first home game, and first Hockey East game, for Ginand starting off fast is good:
“It’s huge, we want to fight for home ice advantage. . . . It’s a big victory”
“Pretty even game, happens in overtime” a subdued PC head coach Tim Army said after the game. “We did some good things, I thought we moved the puck really well, I thought we had some chances, and we did some good things.”
Shots were high in the game with both teams ending the game with 32.
Northeastern netminder made 30 saves, and PC goalie Tyler Sims made 29. NU was 1-8 with the extra man, PC was 0-3.
Tomorrow Northeastern (1-0-0) takes on top ranked North Dakota at Matthews Arena; Providence (0-3-0) heads south to host Holy Cross.
When asked how long he planned on celebrating the overtime goal, “midnight” answered Chris Donovan, “then it’s all [North] Dakota”.