Chestnut Hill, MA- In the 2018-2019 season, the Boston College Eagles and Providence College Friars faced off six times, bringing some of Hockey East’s best talent and an old-time physicality every time. BC won the series 4-2, including a Hockey East Quarterfinals Series 2-1. On Friday night, the two HEA powers met for the first time of the new season at Conte Forum and brought all the elements from last season back. Providence had the better offensive turn and claimed a needed early-season victory in a Top-10 matchup.
For all the skill on the ice, the first period was sleep-inducing. The pace felt like the players were waking up from an afternoon nap with only three combined shots for the first five minutes and change. As the frame wound down, Providence got the first tally off a nice transition play. Tyce Thompson fired a puck on net and Spencer Knight gave up a strong rebound. Jason O’Neill was Johnny on the spot and punched home the puck with 1:25 left on the opening clock. Providence didn’t allow a clean look before the intermission.
The second period pace more than made up for the opener. Particularly, a 1:39 long stretch of the frame in which the teams scored four goals. first, Matt Koopman netted his first of the season with a backhander in front of the crease at 8:08. A mere 32 seconds later, Graham McPhee scored a beautiful transition goal for his first of the season and BC’s first home goal with “For Boston” playing after. Cam McDonald followed with a one-timer 19 seconds later for PC. Logan Hutsko ended the wild stretch with a shot from an impossible angle on the goal-line extended.
From then on, Providence capitalized on BC mistakes and poor choices, aided by their own good shot chances. Ron Greco decked Jason O’Neill in transition and was punished with a major penalty and a game misconduct. While on the penalty kill, David Cotton committed a hooking penalty to allow a 5on3 power play. Michael Callahan potted a goal on the two-man advantage and Providence took a 4-2 lead into the intermission.
BC outshot PC 12-7 in the third but failed to beat graduate transfer goalie Michael Lackey. The Washington D.C. native recorded 12 of his 26 saves in the finale while Jack Dugan extended the lead near the halfway mark and assisted Greg Printz on an end of game goal to claim the nation’s lead in scoring (4G,8A,12PTS). Providence closed out and secured a 6-2 victory against a major player in the conference.
The Eagles drop to 2-3 overall and lose their conference opener, sitting at 0-1.
“Tough way to start the Hockey East Conference, no doubt” admitted Eagles Head Coach Jerry York. “Providence played very well. They did some good things on their forecheck, gave us some problems carrying the puck out of our zone. I thought one of our key moments was the five minute major on us. We’ve been talking all week about limiting penalties and penalty minutes. And that was a moment we let up on that.”
Through five games, BC has 27 penalty kill attempts, 9th in the nation, and averages 5.40 penalty kills per game, 5th in the nation.
Spencer Knight stopped 26 of 32 shots, including 14 of 17 in a manic second period.
BC travels to Durham, NH, next weekend to face New Hampshire on Friday, November 1st, then plays Providence again in Providence on Saturday, November 2nd. Puck drops at 7 pm ET at both the Whittemore Center and Schneider Arena.
Friar Head Coach Nate Leaman summed up his team’s night as follows: “It’s always good to come into here and get a win. There’s times where we’re executing and look like a well-oiled machine and there’s times where we showed our youth. And tonight, I think we showed our youth tonight. But we hung together and the puck went in for us. That’s good, scoring six goals on the road.”
PC stands at 4-1-0 and 2-0-0 in HEA play. They return home on Saturday night to face the UMass Lowell Riverhawks. Puck drops at 7 pm ET at Schneider Arena.