CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Boston College built an early 2-0 lead and got a crucial third period shorthanded goal from Paul Carey that gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead as they beat Providence Tuesday night at Kelley Rink.
Barry Almeida, who had two goals on the game, scored into an empty net with 1:29 remaining for a 4-1 final.
Despite falling behind early, Providence was pesky to put away and late in the third was in solid position to tie the game. Boston College was whistled for back-to-back penalties giving the Friars four straight minutes of power-play time.
Looking for the equalizer, Friars forward Ross Mauermann, playing the point on the power play, mishandled a loose puck. Carey was quick to apply pressure, steal the puck and race alone the other way, firing low blocker glove side on Alex Beaudry.
It was a high-risk play for Carey, knowing that if he didn’t get the loose puck he could easily be out of position, but the play resulted in just as high a reward as he raced for his fifth goal of the season and third in the last four games.
“It’s kind of our system [on the penalty kill] to put a lot of pressure,” said Carey. “Once in a while, you get a lucky break like that. We lucked out.”
Rookie Brian Billett made his third start in four games for the Eagles, turning aside just 16 shots, but standing tall when the Friars offense was most effective – on the power play.
“[Billett] put together another excellent game,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “He’s slowly building a streak of games here that he’s really earning a lot of respect in our locker room.”
With three cracks at the power play in the opening period, BC controlled the flow. Beaudry (26 saves) faced some point blank chances, including a Chris Kreider breakaway at 11:25 that he stopped, but eventually, the Eagles’ power play broke through.
Almeida scored his eighth goal of the season when he redirected a centering feed from Carey at 15:06.
“Paul made a great play walking it behind the net,” Almeida said describing the goal. “I just tried to get open and he fired a great pass. I didn’t have to move my stick. I put my stick down and it went in.”
Less than two minutes later, the Eagles extended the lead on a similar play. This time it was Johnny Gaudreau centering a pass that Bill Arnold redirected past Beaudry for the 2-0 lead.
In the second, Providence crept back using its own power-play tally to cut the lead to 2-1. Damian Cross centered a pass to Derek Army that the sophomore couldn’t immediately handle. The bobble, though, gave him enough time and space to corral and roof the puck over a fallen Billett to get the Friars on the board at 5:50.
That, though, was as close as they would get despite the two late cracks on the power play.
“I thought we played timid tonight,” said Providence coach Nate Leaman. “I felt like we were thinking too much and not playing. When you’re timid, you lose a lot of puck battles and turn pucks over on soft plays.”
The Friars, who came into Tuesday game on the heels of a two-game sweep against then-No. 1 Merrimack, drop to 8-7-0 on the season (6-4-0 Hockey East). They now are on hiatus for the exam break until December 29 when they host an exhibition game against the Russian Red Army squad and face cross-town rival Brown on New Year’s Day at the annual Mayor’s Cup.
The Eagles (12-5-0, 9-3-0 Hockey East) aren’t ready for their break just yet. Friday, they will travel to Massachusetts-Lowell to face the surging River Hawks before taking a three-week holiday break.