BOSTON, Mass. — The Boston University Terriers got a measure of revenge against the Providence Friars Saturday night, rallying for a 2-1 victory to split the weekend series on home ice at Agganis Arena in front of a crowd of 5,528. The win re-claimed the fourth place spot in Hockey East for the Terriers, and gives them hope for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
“I thought it was a great college hockey game and I would have been disappointed if we didn’t win because we played so great with 41 shots,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “I was really proud of how poised they kept it because the pressure was all on us. We had to win this game tonight to stay in the hunt for home ice and to feel good about ourselves.”
Both teams’ offense struggled to find their grooves in the first period, as neither was able to score. While Providence’s offense couldn’t get the job done, their defense was great, killing all three penalties they acquired. PC goalie Alex Beaudry made 15 saves, while their defensemen swatted away eight shots.
While the Friars let the entire first period go by with only six shots on BU’s net, they didn’t waste any time in the second. Less than a minute into play, Mark Fayne sent an unassisted rocket past BU netminder Kieran Millan to put PC up 1-0. That was Fayne’s fifth goal of the season.
Providence picked up three penalties within two minutes of each other during the middle of the period, including a five-on-three where Tim Schaller and Alex Velischek picked up penalties for tripping and high-sticking, respectively. Despite giving up the risky power play, the Friars maintained their excellent penalty kill and shutout the Terriers for another period.
BU also picked up two penalties in the second period, both of which coincided with two of Providence’s penalties, resulting in two four-on-four plays. Andrew Glass sat out for hooking eight minutes into the period, and PC’s Kyle McKinnon picked up a tripping penalty a minute later. Luke Popko tripped Matt Germain, sending him into the penalty box for two minutes. Germain also picked up a penalty for embellishment on the same play.
Glass picked a good time to score his first goal of the season for the Terriers. After 46 minutes of shutout hockey, Alex Beaudry let Glass’ shot from the right circle past him, tying the game at one. Max Nicastro and Popko both picked up assists on the play as well.
The Friars thought they had the lead shortly after Glass’ goal when Ian O’Connor, shot and missed, and then rebounded with what looked like a tip past Millan. However, after review, the referees ruled that the puck was kicked off O’Connor’s skate and was called no-good.
The go-ahead goal for the Terriers came with six minutes left in the third period, and Nicastro picked up his second assist for the night. On a pass from Alex Chiasson, Nicastro fired the puck with a slap shot from the blue line. Zach Cohen met the puck in front of the net and gave it the tip past Beaudry. The one-timer was Cohen’s 12th goal of the season.
“I try as much as possible to get in front of the net, and if I get a stick on it I get a stick on it, but mostly I’m just trying to get in front of the goalie,” said Cohen. “It was a nice play by Max (Nicastro) to find me. I was a little off tonight and wasn’t really in front, but I got a stick on it and it went in.”
Despite giving up the two goals, Beaudry finished the night with an impressive 39 saves, and though the Friars find themselves at the bottom of the pack in Hockey East, their record does not reflect their capability, as 11 of the team’s losses have only been two-goal discrepancies. Two of those 11 games were back-to-back overtime losses in January.
“Beaudry has been great all year long; every night he gives us a chance and he’s been terrific,” said Providence coach Tim Army. “I thought we played really well defensively overall. Penalty killing was excellent. We just came up a shot short.”
Heading into the last two weeks of the regular season, the Terriers will look to gain some confidence heading into the playoffs as they head to Vermont next Friday February 26 to take on the Catamounts 7:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on NESN. The Friars hope put up a win to help end their season on a positive note against Massachusetts-Lowell for a 7 p.m. game.