Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Behind Three-Goal Second Period, Friars Down BC

For the second game in a row, Boston College men’s hockey allowed six goals—once again surrendering three in the second period—and although it looked close early Friday night, visiting No. 7 Providence proved to be too much of an offensive powerhouse for No. 10 BC to handle. 

The Friars (4-1, 1-0 Hockey East) set the tone from puck drop, with Jason O’Neill winning the face off, followed by an immediate set of shots forcing Eagles (2-3, 0-1) goaltender Spencer Knight to make some crucial saves early on. Providence then maintained its edge for most of the period, dominating possession and narrowly outshooting BC, 8-7. 

After Providence’s Vimal Sukumaran went to the box for boarding, the Eagles earned the first power play of the night, but failed to capitalize on two strong shots from Julius Mattila and Ben Finkelstien. The penalty on Sukumaran set the tone for a physical game.

“We’ve been talking all week about cutting back on penalties and cutting back on penalty minutes,” BC head coach Jerry York said.

But, against the Friars, penalties continued to haunt the Eagles. Less than a minute after BC went up a man, it lost the advantage as David Cotton went to the box for holding. A minute later, both teams had five men on the ice, and BC had lost an opportunity to score. Then, with just over a minute left in the frame, Providence opened up the scoring gates with a Jason O’Neill rebound goal that skidded just between Knight’s pads. 

Providence wasn’t out of the woods yet, though, as BC entered the second period hungry for the back of the net. The Eagles looked dominant in their offensive third, firing off shot after shot at Providence goaltender Michael Lackey. That momentum didn’t translate to the scoreboard, however, as just over eight minutes in, Providence’s Matt Koopman extended the Friars’ lead on a wrister to the near post, leading the way for a barrage of scoring to follow.

Just 32 seconds later, BC countered on a cross from Alex Newhook that led to a goal by Graham McPhee up the middle, but that was answered 21 seconds later by Providence’s Michael Callahan on a one-timer in front of a screened Knight. A minute after that, BC cut its deficit to one on a goal from Logan Hutsko off a pass from Jesper Mattila as he hit the ice. Hutsko’s shot hit the opposite side net over Lackey’s head as he dove to try to make the save.

Yet, unfortunately for the Eagles, that was as close as the score would get. Fights ensued after a Providence player went down for an extended period of time midway through the period, and it saw Ron Greco earn a five-minute major penalty and an ejection for game misconduct. That proved to be the turning point of the game, as York described the major penalty as the “kill” of the game, causing BC to lose its momentum. 

Providence stretched its lead to two by capitalizing on its man advantage just under a minute into the penalty, with Michael Callahan putting one behind Knight and three other BC defenders. It was fitting that the Friars took a decisive lead, as they outshot BC, 17-8, in the second period. 

Providence sealed the deal in the final period, putting away two more goals during an otherwise uneventful 20 minutes. Both came at even strength, with Jack Dugan rifling one under the crossbar while Greg Printz tucked home a rebound. The Eagles continued to rack up penalties, which did not cause any goals, but proved costly to morale and their ability to stage any sort of comeback. 

In addition to some detrimental penalties, York attributed BC’s loss to a lack of urgency. 

“We’re gonna play with a little more desperation,” York said about future games. “We gotta be quicker, and right now, you know, the puck moves a lot quicker than the players, so we just have to move faster and quicker.”

There were moments in which the Eagles showed promising urgency, but by and large, the Friars had them on their heels most of the game. BC looks to play with more urgency in upcoming games, as it’s back under .500—a familiar position after last year’s shaky season.

Featured Image by Kait Devir / For The Heights

October 26, 2019