By Matt Noonan
BOSTON, MA – For the third consecutive year, Boston College will attempt to earn some Hockey East hardware, as the Eagles rallied from a one-goal deficit in the first period to defeat Providence College, 4-2 in Friday’s conference semi-finals.
“To get to the Garden we had to go through a pretty difficult opponent in UMass and I think Providence came out the same way they played us,” BC head coach Jerry York said.
BC wasted little time after the puck dropped, as senior Paul Carey netted his team’s first strike at 1:15 before PC evened the score with a goal by freshman Barrett Kaib literally one minute later.
The Friars doubled their point total two minutes later when sophomore Derek Army deposited the puck past Eagles junior goaltender Parker Milner, (27-saves) which provided PC with their only advantage of the contest.
BC eventually responded – four minutes later – as freshman Destry Straight redirected the puck past Providence’s senior netminder Alex Beaudry, (30-saves) and tied the game, 2-2.
“There was a real lot of action with the four goals that were scored in the first period and there were no guarantees,” said York.
“We [tried] not to let the [2-1 deficit] affect us,” said Carey. “We just [kept] a positive attitude and [kept] pushing because it’s a long 60 minutes and you don’t win in the first period.”
The Eagles built off Straight’s goal early in the middle frame when freshman Johnny Gaudreau potted his 17th goal of the season before junior Steven Whitney registered the clincher at the eight-minute mark in the third session.
“Paul made a nice pass down to me in the corner and luckily I just hopped over the Friar’s end of the stick and had a nice one on one with the goalie. I just faked a shot and the goalie went down and just kept going to the left side of him and I had him beat, so I just threw it in the empty net,” Gaudreau said of his team’s third strike.
As for Providence College, this particular loss marks the end of a rather exciting season that saw the Friars earn 14 wins, and an opening round tournament series against University of Massachusetts (Lowell).
“We started out a little slow, but didn’t come out and show a lot of maturity,” PC head coach Nate Leaman said. “In the second period [Boston College] had it in our zone a lot. We were really struggling on face-offs [on Friday, but] I thought that was one area of the game [Boston College] played really well.”
“Overall, we lacked some maturity,” added Leaman. “Our recoverability off mistakes, off turnovers was not good last weekend and I thought our recoverability off turnovers was excellent [this year] and [on Friday] we struggled with that.”
The Eagles will return to the ice on Saturday, Mar. 17, and attempt to earn their third consecutive conference crown against Boston University or University of Maine.