The Boston University Terriers remained one of the nation’s hottest teams on Friday night, defeating Providence 6-1 in front of 5,171 at BU’s Agganis Arena.
It was BU’s fourth straight win in Hockey East play.
The Terriers dominated the game on the scoresheet from the opening faceoff, scoring early, posting four goal in the first and then riding out the easy victory.
Adam Clendening paced the BU offense in setting up four of the six goals, extending his streak to 12 assists in his last five games for the Terriers.
The BU offense has been potent of late, scoring a minimum of four goals in each of its last four games. Suddenly, goal scoring, which may have been a concern for Terriers’ coach Jack Parker when he lost Corey Trivino and Charlie Coyle just weeks ago, seems to be an afterthought.
“I think that we’ve come together as a team pretty nicely,” said Parker. “The offense is spread around pretty nicely, especially on the top two lines.”
Despite having an 11-10 advantage on the shot chart in the opening frame, Providence dug itself a massive hole after the first.
BU opened the scoring just 1:31 into the first as Sahir Gill buried the rebound of Evan Rodrigues’ shot to get BU on the board.
The Terriers than struck three times in 4:03 to break open the game.
Alex Chaisson buried a blast from just inside the blueline that beat starter Alex Beaudry at 10:40.
Fourth-line winger Ryan Santana then beat Beaudry to a loose puck and chipped a perfect nine iron-like wedge shot over the sprawled goaltender at 13:23 to not only stake BU a 3-0 lead, but also to chase Beaudry from the game.
Things weren’t much better for replacement Justin Gates, who was beat by his first shot, a power-play blast from Clendening that Matt Nieto deflected into the net to gave BU a 4-0 lead through one period.
The Friars gave it the best Boy Scout try in the second, plastering the BU net with 20 shots. Save for a third rebound attempt that beat Kieran Millan from second-half rookie Shane Luke [first collegiate goal], the Terriers left the frame with a 4-1 cushion.
“For the first 40 minutes, I thought we played really well,” said Providence head coach Nate Leaman. “The pucks just went in our net. [BU’s] net front presence was solid.”
In the third, if Providence had any hope of a comeback, it was erased at 4:14 when defenseman Daniel New was whistled for a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind.
Immediately, BU capitalized, scoring on a one-time blast from defenseman Alexx Privitera at 4:56. Just over two minutes later, Garrett Noonan buried his 11th goal of the season, poking home the rebound of a Chris Connolly blast to put the game easily in BU’s hands.
The loss places the Friars (9-10-2, 7-6-1 Hockey East) in sixth place after Massachusetts-Lowell leapfrogged them with a win over Northeastern on Friday. The Terriers (14-6-1, 11-4-1 Hockey East) take a major step forward, moving into solo first place, two points ahead of Boston College, which fell 4-3 in overtime at Maine on Friday.
The two teams will rematch on Saturday in Providence at 7 p.m.
For Parker, he hopes his team’s scoring touch continues to shine.
“It’s a pretty well-balanced team right now,” said Parker. “The word ‘team’ is the most important thing. We’ve come together as a team pretty nice.”