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MEN'S HOCKEY: Friars Spoil Near Record-Breaking Night For York In 3-3 OT Tie

Sports Editor

Published: Saturday, December 8, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

 

Boston College came within 10.5 seconds from making history for its head coach Jerry York. Then Providence played the role of spoiler at home.

Trailing 3-2 entering the final minute of regulation, the Friars used a 6-on-5 advantage to tie the game up with 10.5 seconds remaining on a goal from Nick Saracino, stunning the No. 2 Eagles at Schneider Arena.

“The 6-on-5 was unfortunate because one of our defenseman fell down,” York said. “The puck was chipped in and [Saracino] made a real strong play coming across [the ice].”

After neither team could score in a five-minute overtime period, the game ended in a 3-3 tie, keeping York from becoming the all-time winningest coach in college hockey, for now.

“We take the point and we leave with some real good learning experiences for our club,” York said.

There were plenty of chances for either team to take the game in overtime, but both goaltenders stayed strong to preserve the tie.

The Eagles may have been caught off guard by Providence’s physical play, as the Friars outmuscled BC right from the start. The home team delivered lots of clean hits on the Eagles, which BC was unable to respond to.

“Not good enough,” York said when asked how his teams responded to the physicality. “I thought [Providence] won a lot more puck battles than we did through the course of the evening. Providence played hard, they played physical, and they were difficult to play against.”

That physicality was something that Providence head coach Nate Leaman had wanted in his game plan, and he thought his team did a good job of disrupting the Eagles’ skating with it.

“If we let them skate, it’s an ugly game,” Leaman said. “Last year, we played them four times and the aggregate score was 18-3. You spend the summer watching some of that tape and seeing how you got to improve. They’re the national champs. They’re the best team in the land. You got to beat this team.

“You’ve got to slow them down, and finishing hits is one good way to slow them down. I thought we did a good job of that tonight.”

BC had entered the third period with a 2-0 lead, but then a hectic final frame ensued. The teams combined for three goals in a span of 1:46.

Providence scored to make it 2-1, finally finding the back of the net just 22 seconds in on a backhanded tally from Derek Army that went through Parker Milner's five-hole. Army took the puck in from Milner’s left and carved through defense, using a screen on Milner to his advantage.

“The early goal in the third period really gave the Friars life,” York said. “They got it really quick to 2-1, and I think that gave them a little bit of a spark.

Just over a minute later, Michael Matheson scored his second goal of the night on a gritty play to give the Eagles a two-goal lead again.

But the Friars fought right back when Noel Acciari scored just 12 seconds later, taking advantage of a BC turnover. That made it 3-2, which set up a tense final 17 minutes and 41 seconds as the Eagles tried to guard the lead to get a special win for York.

In the second period, BC went on the power play at 12:53, and Michael Matheson didn’t waste any time with the man-advantage. The defenseman found the back of the net just 12 seconds into the power play, giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead.

The Friars continued to get off shots throughout the rest of the period, but Milner remained a brick wall. Providence outshot the Eagles 28-12 through 40 minutes, but Milner made stops on all 28 shots.

Johnny Gaudreau got the scoring started with 7:21 left in the first period. After a faceoff, Gaudreau got the puck in front of the net and flung it top-shelf past Providence goalie Jon Gillies.

The Friars had some quality chances to tie the game at the end of the first, but Milner stood on his head a few times to keep it a shutout. With 10 seconds left in the frame, a Friar had a shorthanded breakaway, but Milner stopped him point blank to keep it a one-goal leading heading into the locker room.

York said that Milner was BC’s best player on the night, and Leaman noted that it was a battle of two good goaltenders. Milner finished with 34 saves, while Gillies finished with 26.

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