By: Greg Levinsky
Through the first three minutes of overtime, the Boston University Men’s Lacrosse team controlled the ball. Outshooting Providence College 6-0, the Terriers got chances but could not convert until sophomore John MacLean netted the game-winning goal with 47 seconds left in the first overtime period.
The Terriers (1-0), ranked 20th in the nation by Inside Lacrosse’s preseason poll took an early lead, fell behind by as many as three, but scored five of the game’s last six goals to nix the Friars (0-1) with a 12-11 victory in sub-freezing temperatures at Nickerson field on Saturday afternoon.
“I’ve just got to give our kids credit,” BU Coach Ryan Polley said. “Just a great team win. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys and their no-give-up effort.”
Junior attack James Burr (2 goals, 2 assists) fired a shot past Providence junior goalie Tate Boyce for the Terriers first goal of the campaign and senior attack Ryan Hilburn (2 goals) added his first of the game on a pass from Jack Wilson less than a minute later to give BU a quick 2-0 lead.
Providence answered with consecutive goals and Boyce recovered by stopping a pair of point-blank shots by Burr and MacLean (4 goals) to preserve a 2-2 tie. After six minutes without a goal, Burr ripped another one past Boyce on an extra man opportunity set up by an unnecessary roughness penalty.
Leahey tacked on an unassisted tally with 1.1 seconds remaining in the first quarter to tie it up at three goals apiece.
Freshman Chris Gray (2 goals, 3 assists) opened up second quarter action with his first collegiate goal on an assist by Burr. He went around his back and behind his head, finishing in the top right corner for a 4-3 lead.
Providence blitzed a six to three goal run, aided by three from Leahey, and one each from sophomores Damon Currie and Tim Hinrichs and graduate student Austin Goltz.
Leahey scored four of his five goals in the opening half to help edge out a 9-7 halftime advantage.
Senior Quintin Germain was tasked to mark Leahey in the second half and the defensive adjustment proved crucial.
“Our team has a lot of confidence in itself and we’re not afraid to play from behind,” Polley said. “I think we know we have a really good offense… We know we can score goals quickly and on a moments notice.
“I don’t think there was any panic when we were down two goals at half,” he added.
Providence opened up second half scoring when junior Brendan Kearns scored just over three and a half minutes into the third quarter. BU freshman Tommy Nook brought the deficit back to one, 10-9, with his first collegiate goal after Gray scored his second.
MacLean tied it up for the first time since early in the second quarter with 6:26 left in regulation. The sophomore scored 16 goals and added 11 assists in a spectacular freshman campaign and looks to continue his progression as one of the top attacks in the Patriot League.
“I just feel more comfortable with the ball, I understand the offense more,” MacLean said. “A boost of confidence is what’s helping a lot right now.”
“He’s just evolved into a total player,” Polley said. “He obviously shoots the ball a million miles an hour and when he’s on, he can stick it.”
After Leahey scored with 1:38 left, Hilburn tied it up with 7.8 second to go on an assist by senior Hayden Ruiz after an extended BU possession that ate up over a minute.
MacLean scored with 47 seconds left in the overtime period to lift BU to their third straight season opening win over Providence.
“I took my shot and it just happened to go in,” MacLean said.