By: Dan Shulman
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Boston University Terriers took a hard-fought victory out Schneider Arena on Friday over Providence College, 2-1.
The two league points and the score-line suggest BU won the close contest outright. But that was not the case in the slightest.
With forward Jordan Greenway sitting out this one due to a “coach’s decision” the Terriers were without one of their top offensive players on the road. To make matters worse, only 8:16 into the opening frame, BU was reduced to 11 forwards when Nick Roberto took a major penalty for contact to the head and a game misconduct.
At this point in the game, the Terriers were already down 1-0 after a turnover in front of the net led to the Friars only goal of the night.
But the Terriers penalty kill went to work, having 7:49 of ice-time in the first period and keeping the Friars’ potent power play off the board, despite having 10 shots on the man-advantage.
BU freshman net-minder Jake Oettinger kept his team in it, stopping 38 of 39 shots on the night. The Terrier defense also kept Providence at bay as the Friars attempted 77 shots on the night.
Oettinger, who hadn’t played since enduring a 4-0 loss against UConn, stepped in with little to no rustiness at all.
“I felt comfortable,” said Oettinger. “I felt a lot more comfortable as the game went on. We’re going to enjoy this tonight and get ready for tomorrow.”
As the second period started, BU kicked into gear. The team woke-up as a JFK burst led to a goal. The would-be winner came 1:21 later when junior Nikolas Olsson scored off a snap-shot from the right circle.
The goal was Olsson’s first since his freshman year. After a season plagued by a nagging upper-body, the goal for Olsson ended frustration not just for his team on Friday, but for the assistant captain as well.
In the end, one word to describe BU’s overall performance was resilient. The Terriers fought hard in their defensive zone and were dogged on the forecheck. The team’s depth was tested to the ultimate degree and by all accounts passed.
For BU, it was their first win over Providence sine Halloween of 2014 and a huge monkey off their backs. But there is still work to be done and improvements to be made.
“We played a little bit too defense for our liking,” said Olsson. “We’d rather play in their zone and play consistently for a full 60 minutes instead of relying on protecting a lead.”
Some things the Terriers need to work on for tomorrow include face-offs and discipline. The Friars won the face-off battle convincingly, 40-23. As for penalties, the Terriers committed eight penalties on the night for 27 minutes.
A win is a win, no matter how ugly. But if it gets any uglier, the Terriers will certainly regret it.