BOSTON — As Boston University coach David Quinn said after the fact, it was a tale of two games Friday night.
In the case, though, the worst of times came before the best of times.
After trailing 3-0 in a first period in which they were outshot by a 19-6 margin and failed to muster a viable scoring chance, No. 17 BU rallied with four unanswered goals to stun No. 3 Providence in a 4-3 win in front of 4,185 at Agganis Arena — the first loss of the young season for the Friars.
Sophomore Danny O’Regan scored twice after tallying just one goal in his first six games, while left wing Matt Lane added a goal and an assist. Matt O’Connor made 38 saves for the win.
Providence center Ross Mauermann had a goal and assist in a losing effort.
It was the first time that BU had come back from a three-goal deficit to win since the final game of the Hockey East quarterfinals against New Hampshire in 2011.
“I just couldn’t be prouder of them – the way they played, the way they responded,” Quinn said. “It’s not easy when you’re down 3-0 and you get your lunch handed to you the way we did in the first period. To respond the way we did certainly speaks a lot to our character and will and leadership.”
Meanwhile, Providence coach Nate Leaman had plenty of reason to be frustrated.
“Obviously played a great road period in the first period and got away from a lot of things that made us successful in the first period,” Leaman said. “Played awful defense tonight – they really won a lot of battles around our net.”
One day after Halloween, the Friars started off the night receiving plenty of treats from the Terriers.
The first Providence goal came at 9:29 while the Friars were shorthanded, as Mauermann set up Steven Shamanski on an even-man rush.
Just over three minutes later, Paul De Jersey set up Mauermann for a one-time blast from 20 feet to make it 2-0. Then it became 3-0 at 16:34 when Brandon Tanev stripped the puck from BU co-captain Garrett Noonan at the blue line before going in to beat the goalie.
“The first period, they were playing at a level we weren’t able to match and coming out for the second period, we decided the match their effort and their tempo and we were able to do it,” Quinn said.
BU finally got on the board at 6:07 of the second. Falling down behind the goal line, Lane nudged the puck toward the net. Nick Roberto took a whack at it and Sam Kurker banged the rebound by Jon Gillies.
On a power play at 8:58, BU made it 3-2. Ahti Oskanen passed from the point to Lane, standing low in the right-wing circle. Despite the sharp angle, he roofed a shot. Then the Terriers thrilled the crowd by tying it at 18:28 on a nice give-and-go between freshman Robbie Baillargeon and O’Regan, who finished it off by tapping it in on his backhand.
“The first goal, we have three guys back against their one, and it ends up in back of the net,” Leaman said. “Then their third goal, we’ve got five guys back against their two and their two skated through our five. Defensively, after the first period, we were atrocious.”
From there on, it was all BU for quite a while. After two great chances early in the third period for Kevin Duane and Brendan Collier, O’Regan had two great chances within seconds and scored on the second one, knocking in a rebound of a Baillargeon shot for the game-winner.
Providence finally got some momentum back while shorthanded late in the period, but couldn’t tie it.
“It’s a lack of mental toughness, that’s what it is,” Leaman said of losing the lead. “It’s mental toughness to stick with what you’re doing when you’re having success. That shows why we’re still a growing team and we’re still young.”