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College Hockey:
Almeida scores four points as Boston College crushes Providence

— On the heels of a 3-0 shutout over Providence College last night, No. 2 Boston College utterly dismantled the Friars, 7-0, in the Saturday matinee.  With just two games remaining against conference bottom-feeder Vermont, it is the Eagles’ record 12th regular-season title to lose.

“We put ourselves in a position where we are trying to chase that [Lamoriello] Trophy,” said BC coach Jerry York. “Next weekend, it will be right in front of us.”

BC showed why it is a threat to repeat for the Lamoriello Trophy by putting on a clinic at the expense of the beleaguered Friars, who are winless in their last four outings.

“[BC] can make something out of nothing; they have nine forwards that can just absolutely beat you,” Providence coach Nate Leaman said. “If you make mistakes, it can get ugly fast.”

Five of those opportunistic forwards combined for the Eagles’ seven goals, with center Bill Arnold and winger Johnny Gaudreau notching two goals apiece. The Eagles had multiple-point showings from winger Barry Almeida (4), winger Steven Whitney (3), Arnold (3), and defensemen Tommy Cross (2) and Edwin Shea (2).

Things got ugly quickly in the opening frame. BC scored five times in the period, a feat they last accomplished in the second period of an 8-6 victory over University of New Hampshire on November 15, 2008.

The onslaught began a mere 29 seconds into the first period, when Whitney unleashed a shot from the point off a feed from Almeida. Providence goaltender Alex Beaudry appeared stunned as the puck hit the twine.

“We had [the Eagles] in their end, and then they come down and launch one outside the top of the circles and it’s a perfect shot,” Leaman said. “I thought that kind of put us on our heels. And even though we had three power plays in that first period, we still couldn’t catch our breath.”

The floodgates opened at 13:02, when BC center Destry Straight outmanned a Friars defenseman for the puck low in the slot.  Destry slid the puck across to linemate Danny Linell, who wristed the puck over Beaudry’s left shoulder.

Beaudry barely had time to collect himself before BC distanced itself from Providence, 3-0, a mere 11 seconds later. Shea fed Arnold at neutral ice, who cycled the puck through the right circle and poked it through Beaudry’s pads at 13:13.

BC’s dominance was temporarily slowed by Arnold’s slashing penalty immediately after his goal. The Friars best scoring chance on the man-advantage came when center Derek Army fed defender Myles Harvey in the slot from the left circle. Eagles netminder Parker Milner rose to the challenge with a pad save at 15:40.

“The whole weekend, the guys did a great job of keeping [Providence] to the outside,” Milner said.

BC shut down the Friars’ power play — operating at 16.4 percent clip this season — and regained its momentum the second Arnold stepped back on the ice. Arnold dished the puck to Almeida, who deked Beaudry and beat him five-hole on a breakaway at 15:36.

Almeida sparked BC’s fifth and final goal of the period with a pass to Gaudreau from deep in Eagles territory. Gaudreau gained control at the Providence blue line and wristed the puck past Beaudry from the top of the right circle at 18:33.

This particular first period was exceptional in a lot of regards,” York said. “Defensively, very positionally sound. But offensively, we moved pucks around and created some terrific opportunities which we buried. The game was dictated the first 20 minutes of the game.”

Beaudry was lifted prior to the start of the second period, giving backup Friars goaltender Justin Gates an opportunity to stifle BC. The Eagles continued to control the play during the mostly sluggish and uneventful middle frame, but Providence’s bend-but-don’t-break defense held BC temporarily scoreless.

The respite was short-lived, as the Eagles tallied their sixth point less than a minute into the final frame. Almeida fired a shot from the right circle that Arnold collected in the low slot and rifled past Gates high far side at 0:46.

The Friars handed the Eagles — currently 20.6 percent on the power play — a golden opportunity to score lucky number seven less than three minutes later. Shea launched a slap shot from the left point which moved Gates to the left post to make the initial save. Unfortunately for Gates, the rebound landed on Gaudreau’s stick at the opposite post for an easy wrister at 3:22.

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