Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Penalty-Ridden Eagles Fall Flat Against No. 18 Providence

As a pair of players exchanged words and a few swings in the corner of Kelley Rink, referee Geoff Miller’s voice rang out over the slowly growing crowd.

“Knock it off,” he shouted. 

The players—one from Boston College men’s hockey and one from Providence—released slowly, but it was far from the last time that punches were thrown. Anything from a simple exchange of words to a full-team scuffle ensued at practically every stoppage during Friday night’s game.

Providence jumped out to an early lead through its physical play, and BC’s frustration grew as the game progressed. After a combined 12 penalties, No. 18 Providence (16–9–1, 7–7–0 Hockey East) walked away with a 7–0 win over BC (10–10–3, 5–7–2).

“We need our confidence back, we need our ability to play the game at the level we like to play the game,” BC head coach Jerry York said in his postgame press conference. “A lot of things are missing, and it’s within our dressing room to get us back.”

BC’s first penalty kill of the night was a stark contrast to its second. The first, after Patrick Giles went to the box for cross checking, was a defensive clinic, holding Providence to the outside and disrupting its offensive momentum, preventing a score despite the man disadvantage. 

The Eagles’ second penalty kill, however, was a different story. Casey Carreau went​​​ to the box for tripping later in the frame, and just 17 seconds of ​​attack from Providence later, Nick Poisson found the back of the net, putting the Friars up 2–0 late in the first period. 

Penalties had plagued BC in a blowout loss to Notre Dame just two nights prior, and entering Friday night’s game, the Eagles’ penalty kill percentage sat tied for 43rd in the nation at 77 percent.

“It’s a major funk,” York said.

For the rest of the night, BC’s success in odd-man situations followed the same trajectory it had at the end of the first period. BC’s third time on the penalty kill led to Providence’s fourth goal, and despite four power plays on the night for the Eagles, BC never found the back of the net. 

Three of Providence’s seven goals came on the man advantage, and BC finished two of the last three minutes of the game on the penalty kill after Trevor Kuntar was handed a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head.

“We’ve got to be able to do some technical things to prevent them from scoring that many goals on the power play, and we’ll break it down and look at what they’re doing that’s giving us trouble,” York said.

Despite the lopsided score, the Friars recorded 35 shots on goal, compared to the Eagles’ 29. BC goaltender Eric Dop has posted a sub-90 percent save percentage in his last four appearances, but York said he has faith in all of his goaltenders. 

“I like our goalies,” York said. “I think we should compete better in front of them. So, it’s easy to look at the goalies, … but I’m not going to point fingers to the goalies in this. We’ve got to play better defensively as a group of six people on the ice.”

Featured Image by Aneesa Wermers / Heights Staff

January 22, 2022