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Eagles cruise to victory on two early goals

Published: Sunday, March 16, 2008

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

The fourth-seeded Boston College men's hockey team wasted little time on Friday night, building a two-goal lead just a minute and 18 seconds into game one of the Hockey East quarterfinal series with the fifth-seeded Providence Friars.

Providence came in having beaten the Eagles twice earlier this season at Conte Forum, but BC stormed out of the gate quickly and took a commanding lead en route to a 5-1 victory.

"You could feel the playoff-type atmosphere in our locker room," said BC head coach Jerry York of his squad's playoff preparations. "Our ability to score two early goals kind of set the tone for the game."

On the other side, Providence head coach Tim Army was very disappointed with his team's start. "You're not going to win many playoff games like that, staking the other team to a two-goal lead right away," he said.

BC senior winger Pat Gannon started the Eagles off, banging home a rebound of a Joe Whitney shot that Providence netminder Tyler Sims could not control.

That was the beginning of a rough night for Sims, who didn't last much into the second period. Benn Ferriero struck 18 seconds after Gannon, notching his 13th goal of the year that beat Sims five-hole.

That goal nearly ended the night for the senior goalie, as Army called his timeout to slow down the Eagles and help his team regain its composure.

Following the game, Army said that he nearly pulled Sims then, but decided to leave him in the game.

The Friars didn't help their own cause, taking three consecutive penalties that gave BC more than three minutes of power-play time, including an extended five-on-three. The Eagles could not convert, despite generating a few good scoring chances.

Two minutes into the second period, Ferriero struck again, netting his 14th goal of the season on a blast from the right point that beat Sims cleanly. That goal, BC's third of the evening, ended the night for Sims, who was pulled in favor of sophomore Ryan Simpson for the third straight game.

"I didn't think [Sims] looked sharp," Army said. "[Ferriero's second goal] was kind of a direct shot; there was no traffic in front of him. We wanted to get Ryan [Simpson] in there and see if we could get some stops."

The physical play ramped up in the second period, and there was a scary moment when Providence center Nick Mazzolini took an elbow to the head from BC's Ferriero just inside the BC blue line. Ferriero was whistled for a five-minute major for contact to the head and elbowing, and Mazzolini was helped to the locker room with a knee injury.

Providence, though, was unable to get a power play generated, and took two consecutive penalties and gave BC a four-on-three power-play opportunity.

BC was able to convert, as junior forward Nathan Gerbe banged home the rebound of Dan Bertram's missed shot, for his 25th goal of the season. Providence was able to muster four shots on the power-play opportunity, and defenseman Matt Taormina hit the left post with a shot from the point.

Taormina would draw the Friars a little closer when he collected his ninth goal of the season at 18:17 of the second period.

BC would reestablish its four-goal lead at 13:47 of the third period, when Gerbe blew past two Providence defensemen and then beat Simpson five-hole for his second goal of the night and 15th point of the season.

"When you've got your best players scoring goals like this, we're a pretty dominant team," York said. "Nathan's been playing well, but when he scores goals, he's an even better Nathan Gerbe."

BC goalie John Muse was strong in his playoff debut, making 32 saves on the night. Army will need to decide whether to go back to Sims, a senior, or stick with Simpson for game two.

Army also indicated that Mazzolini would most likely not be available for Saturday's game two.

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