Wins over BC, BU have Providence back on track

After a 4-0 road loss at Clarkson that capped off a weekend where Providence allowed 9 goals to the opposition, the Friars might have had some concerns about their overall defense. Those concern should be eased for now after a banner weekend. That leads the three things I learned this weekend.

1. Friars sweep was based on defense

Providence beat Boston College and Boston University this weekend and allowed just one goal in doing so. And after averaging more than four goals against the previous three games, that’s a positive sign for the Friars. Most importantly might be the Friars ability to limit chances. Boston College had just 25 shots in a 2-1 loss on Friday and Boston University managed just 22 shots when Providence shutout the Terriers, 3-0, on Saturday. All positive signs for the Friars.

2. Northeastern proves it can win in many ways

The Huskies regained form this weekend with a two-game sweep of UMass Lowell and did so in different fashion. Friday’s game was tight defensively and the Huskies had to rely on special teams. The 3-1 win featured two power play goals and a third goal scored just seconds after a power play ended. On Saturday, Lowell’s penalty kill improved (and had to as the team was forced to kill four extended 5-on-3s), but the Huskies offense still found a way. Not only did they find a shorthanded tally, Northeastern got secondary scoring, proving they don’t always have to rely on the Sikura-Gaudette combo to score.

3. Attendance against defending national champs a bit disappointing

Sure, maybe the provincial New England hockey fans can’t appreciate just how good a team that Denver is, not just the defending national champs but the current #1 team in the nation. But half-to-two-thirds full buildings at Boston University and Boston College over the weekend certainly disappointed this college hockey diehard. BU wasn’t awful, filling 4,369 of the 6,221 seats at Parker Rink, or about 70% capacity. But Boston College managed just to fill just 4,788 or the 7,884 seats at Kelley Rink, or 60% capacity. I’m not pointing blame and know there are tons of excuses for the not-so-great turnout. I just feel bad that this region of supposed hockey lovers missed seeing great college hockey.