By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
The No. 19 Boston University men’s hockey team knew that Providence College liked to pack its defenders below the faceoff dots in its own end. And the Terriers knew the play that would crack that shell –– a pass from the goal line back to the point for a quick one-timer before the defense could get in the shooting lane.
They worked on it all week and used it a number of times this weekend. They were creating good chances off the play, but they weren’t scoring. At least not until it mattered most.
Tied 1-1 with six minutes remaining in Saturday night’s game, freshman forward Alex Chiasson collected the puck along the right goal line and delivered a pass to freshman defenseman Max Nicastro (2 assists) at the right point.
“We were playing real well down low and cycling it, and luckily we found the D and they were firing a lot of shots from up top,” Cohen said. “We were getting people to the net.”
The 2-1 win moved BU (14-13-3, 11-10-2 Hockey East) into sole possession of the fourth and final home-ice spot with four games to go and eliminated Providence (10-18-2, 5-16-2) from playoff contention.
“I told them I was really proud of how poised they kept and how they didn’t get rattled, because the pressure was all on us,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We had to win this game tonight to stay in the hunt for home ice and feel good about ourselves.”
Despite outshooting the Friars 27-17 through two periods, the Terriers entered the final 20 minutes trailing 1-0. BU kept the pressure on, though, and tied the game 6:58 into the third on sophomore forward Andrew Glass’ first goal of the season.
Senior forward Luke Popko tried threading a pass to Nicastro as he cut to the net from his point position, but the puck bounced off his skate blade. Luckily for the Terriers, Glass corralled the loose puck and snuck a quick turnaround shot through Beaudry’s five-hole.
“I think we had a bunch of good shifts back-to-back in the second period for a while and then the start of the third,” Parker said when asked what turned the momentum in his team’s favor. “But the goal really changed it. Then we got really jacked up. Then it was like the ice was tilted.”
Prior to BU registering 11 of the second period’s final 13 shots, though, momentum was planted firmly in Providence’s corner.
After being outshot 15-6 in the first, the Friars took a 1-0 lead just 27 seconds into the second when senior defenseman Mark Fayne held a puck in the zone at the right point and threw a shot on net that found its way through a screen and past sophomore goalie Kieran Millan (28 saves). Providence went on to tally nine of the period’s first 10 shots.
“We were playing pretty hard and getting a lot of shots, but when we came up empty in the first, I thought, ‘Boy, this could be a tough night,’” Parker said. “And then when they scored right off the bat in the second, I was concerned that psychologically it would be a real downer for us. But we kept plugging.”
Game notes: Zach Cohen’s goal was his 12th of the season. He’s one behind junior defenseman Colby Cohen for the team lead. … Saturday was the first game Glass has played since Jan. 15. The goal was his first since Jan. 16 of last season. … After allowing the Friars to go 3-for-11 on the power play with 17 shots in Friday’s 5-4 loss, the Terriers limited Providence to two power plays, one shot and no goals Saturday. … BU went 0-for-6 on the power play but recorded 12 shots. … Junior forward Nick Bonino’s 10-game point streak, sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky’s seven-game streak and Colby Cohen’s six-game streak all came to an end Saturday.