The 11th ranked Friars of Providence College skated into Agganis Arena this afternoon to take on the Terriers of Boston University in the season’s rubber match. Each team has won on its home ice earlier this season, PC @ home 2-0 in October, and BU 3-0 here in November. Neither team has lived up to the expectations for this season so far, but Providence is having a better go of it than BU thus far. PC comes in @ 15-7-1 (8-4-1 HEA) good for 3rd in Hockey East with 17 points. BU is 9-11-1 (7-7-1 HEA) in 5th overall in Hockey East. Only 4 points separate these two teams in the standings, so as we reach crunch time this season today’s game is a big one.
The Friars carried the momentum early, earning a power play after forward Vimul Sukumaran was tripped by Nikolas Olsson down low in front of goalie Jake Oettinger 2:14 into the period. BU was called for Too Many Men just :57 seconds later. PC was unable to generate much on the 2 man advantage. Play was choppy, with each team really struggling to get it together. BU started to put some pressure on Hayden Hawkey around the 13 minute mark of the period. The Friars ended up on the shorthand after JR Scott Conway was whistled for tripping. BU had some good chances but Hawkey was up to the test. The period would finish with each team having posted 7 shots on goal.
The 2nd period had a lot of action, both teams must’ve heard about it from their respective head coaches, because they each came out with some fire in their bellies. BU had the 1st Power Play of the period when FR Greg Printz was whistled for high sticking @ 3:37. Nothing came of that PP. PC had an opportunity just under the halfway point of the period when BU’s Olsson tried to clear the puck from the BU zone but it ended up on the stick of SO Josh Wilkins who had a nice give and go with classmate Kasper Bjorkqvist to sneak the puck past Oettinger for the 1-0 Friar lead. The action picked up after this, BU would start to get good offensive zone pressure on PC. SR Captain Brandon Hickey would hit the post on a laser from the point around 5:25. A few seconds later Bobo Carpenter would tip a John MacLeod shot from the point past Hawkey to even the score @ 1. 1:53 seconds later Carpenter would walk in an errant PC pass and wrist his 2nd goal of the game past Hawkey from the top of the right circle. BU 2-1. PC’s Erik Foley would tie it @ 2 after he tipped a floating shot by defenseman Vincent Desharnais from the point off of a BU turnover.
The 3rd period was a lot of missed opportunities by both teams, a jumping puck here or a lifted stick there. Neither team was able to capitalize on their power play chances all night. The 3rd woun’t be any different as PC’s goalie Hayden Hawkey was called for tripping just 1:48 into the action. PC killed it off, and even had a chance of their own on the PK when Oettinger stonewalled Scott Conway point blank. PC’s Vimal Sukumaran would be called for the 1st of his 2 3rd period penalties for hooking @ 11:00. BU was having a good PP when the puck was lifted out of the PC zone, PC’s Shane Kavanaugh beat Dante Fabbro in a foot race for the bouncing puck, and was in on Oettinger. Fabbro would be called for interference after Oettinger made the stop on Kavanaugh. Sukumaran would level Fabbro from behind the BU net for a 5 minute penalty and a game misconduct. BU couldn’t figure out PC’s penalty kill and the period would end rather meekly. BU outshot PC 27-19 during regulation.
Overtime’s biggest highlight was a BU power play :40 seconds in. Scott Conway was called for tripping. This chippy affair would end in a 2-2 tie. BU outshot PC but it seemed that PC had the better game. Each team can’t be happy splitting those available all important 2 points. Overall it was a closely contested game and fittingly it ended tied leaving the 2 teams 1-1-1 in their 3 Hockey East games. BU’s Jake Oettinger faced less shots but made some crucial saves to keep the game close earning my 3rd Star. PC’s Hayden Hawkey made some great saves as well on more BU chances for 2nd Star. BU’s Bobo Carpenter and his 2 goal game were great enough to earn the 1st Star for this game.