Men’s Hockey: Terriers unable to snag a win in series against No. 11 Providence College

By: Allie Debe

PROVIDENCE – Boston University Men’s Hockey (2-3-4, 1-2-3 HEAM) frustrations continue as the team played the Providence Friars (5-3-2, 3-2-1 HEAM) this weekend in a two-game series that ended in a 3-3 overtime tie Friday and a 6-5 loss Saturday.

The Terriers looked comfortable at the start of Friday night’s home game, maintaining majority control of the puck throughout the first 20 and generating a number of A-plus scoring chances. Though none of BU’s 14 attempts were successful, Providence also struggled to make the most of their nine chances against graduate goaltender Sam Tucker.

Even during a Friar possession, just five minutes into the game where Tucker had his left pad turn completely sideways and his stick left laying behind him after some chaos in front of the net. Providence was unable to get their feet under them with the Terriers’s defensive prowess showing through. No penalty was called on that play, but in this instance, it didn’t seem to matter–BU was able to keep the puck moving enough not to give Providence any real scoring chances.

The first penalty of the game came just minutes later when Providence’s Tyce Thompson was called for kneeing. This would be the first of two Providence penalties called in the first period, neither of which would yield success for the Terriers.

The game remained scoreless until finally in the second period, freshman forward Trevor Zegras scored off a rebound just three minutes in to give BU the lead. Unfortunately this lead would be short-lived: Providence would go on to tie the game just over a minute later and notch two more goals to end the second period, one of which would be the result of a holding minor assessed to junior forward Jake Wise with 2:12 to go.

Frustrated as ever that their attempts just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net, BU came out in the third period with new determination. 2:50 in, the Terriers drew a penalty, and exactly 40 seconds later, junior defenseman David Farrance found the top right corner. Farrance went on to score another power play goal with 2:17 left to play to bring the Terriers into their fourth overtime of the season.

In overtime, an already physical game reached it’s climax with a 5-minute major assessed to Providence’s Thompson and a brawl behind the Terriers’ net that came just two seconds before the final buzzer.

These hot-blooded tensions carried over into the game Saturday at Providence, and both teams opened the goal-scoring flood gates. In the first period, both teams scored two goals, all in under five minutes.

Providence opened scoring at 11:31, just 16 seconds into Zegras’s roughing penalty, but their goal was followed quickly by a rebuttal from Farrance 26 seconds later to tie up the game. And here marked the beginning of the offensive ping-pong the two teams would play.

Farrance went on to score again nearly three minutes later during the Terriers’ first power play, notching his second goal of the night and his fourth of the weekend. Less than a minute later, the Friars would score again, and the period would end tied at two.

The Terriers started up the second period with a power play two minutes in. On a rush, senior assistant captain Patrick Harper found the top left corner from the right circle 15 seconds into the man advantage, which would have given BU a one-goal lead. However, the play was reviewed for offsides and disallowed, and instead of the Terriers finding their offensive stride in the second to maybe finally take home the two points, the game slipped further away.

Providence drew two penalties of their own and on each chance, found a way to the back of the net. Now down by two-goals nearly halfway through the game, the Terriers placed sophomore goaltender Vinnie Purpura in between the pipes in relief of Tucker, who had gotten the nod again.

Zegras was able to get the Terriers back in it when he slid the puck right in a nearly wide-open net, and four minutes later, Farrance, earning his first career hat trick, brought the game back to a tie during a BU power play with a one-timer from the blue line.

Unfortunately, Providence scored just over a minute later to take back their lead and make it 5-4.

But there was still one period to go. BU seemed all over the place to start the last 20: instead of getting that third period click the guys had come accustomed to, their play seemed to dissolve into chaos beginning with a Friar goal three minutes in.

Tucker was placed back in net immediately following the goal and was able to make a couple of major saves to keep the game at 6-4 Friars.

Purpura came out with eight saves on ten shots, and Tucker would end the weekend with a combined 42 saves out of 49 shots faced in both games. Lackey ended the weekend 59 for 67 combined.

The Terriers were able to get one more goal in, freshman forward Ethan Phillips’s first collegiate goal, before the end of regulation, but even with their last ditch efforts and the extra skater with two minutes left, the Terriers just couldn’t get the puck where it needed to be to bring the game to overtime.

“We need to clean some stuff up, but I like our resiliency. I like our competitiveness,” Head coach Albie O’Connell said in Saturday’s post-game press conference. “Our intelligence as a hockey team has to grow. That’s the biggest thing.”

Despite being unable to clinch the W Friday night in yet another overtime or sealing the deal on Saturday, the Terriers showed consistent offensive pressure and on-ice chemistry. As a unit, their game was cohesive and aggressive, outside of the last period of Saturday’s game, and the return of Harper to the first line only aided in BU’s confidence going into the series. While the freshmen had stepped up in games-passed and continued to step up throughout the weekend, the offensive hole Harper left negatively impacted the Terriers’ ability to play at the level they needed to. Yes, BU still couldn’t close and snag those two points in either game, but the team looked infinitely less chaotic with Harper’s patience and play-making ability back in the mix.

BU will begin another two-game series against No. 2 UMass (6-2-0, 2-2-0 HEAM) next Friday at Agganis at 7:30 pm.

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