Rodrigues shines, then leaves with possible broken hand

By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — After more than 45 minutes of Friday’s game, the scoreboard could have read: Providence College 2, Evan Rodrigues 2.

The sophomore wing hadn’t done it all on his own, of course. Passes from his linemates, freshman Danny O’Regan and junior Matt Nieto, helped set him up to fire home his first goal.

On his second goal, though, he jammed home a rebound from close range, then went sliding across the ice on his stomach to celebrate tying the game 2-2.

“He’s just coming into his own,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “He’s one of the best players in the league, and he’s got a lot of confidence. He’s got a great line. Nieto’s playing great. O’Regan’s a great center-iceman.”
With the second goal, Rodrigues moved into a tie with O’Regan for the second-most goals on the team (eight) and third-most points (18). But that’s where his stat line will stay, at least for the next few games, after a hit from behind that sent him off the ice with what appeared to be a broken hand early in the third period. 

Rodrigues was battling Providence forward Noel Acciari for the puck in the corner behind Providence’s net. He appeared to lose an edge as Acciari shoved him from behind, and the combination of those factors sent him crashing face-first into the boards.

He crumpled to the ice immediately and lay there, holding his wrist, for a minute before he skated off, doubled over. He didn’t return, and BU coach Jack Parker said he would receive X-rays on his hand that night to evaluate the team’s suspicion that it was broken.

The sight of the Terriers’ only scorer gliding slowly off the ice could either have deflated BU or inspired them. They chose the latter. Moments after Rodrigues left the ice, junior wing Sahir Gill was upended behind the Providence net. When he got up, he picked up the puck at the side of the crease, carried it through defenders behind the net and slid a wraparound goal past Friar goalie Jon Gillies to give BU the lead.

Once they had the lead, even though Providence outshot them 13-7 in the third, the Terriers’ intensity didn’t flag. Forwards – notably Gill and senior forward Wade Megan – kept the puck moving forward out of BU’s zone.

When Providence beat freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and came down on a 2-on-1 on sophomore Alexx Privitera, Privitera almost wrestled the puck away from the Friar forward and into the corner until the rest of the Terriers could get back. BU’s pace had been picking up throughout the second, but once Rodrigues left the ice, they were relentless.

Gill said he thought losing Rodrigues had a visible impact on BU’s play for the rest of the third period.

“Guys’ shots are getting harder on the forecheck, and I thought we did a lot of the little things right,” he said.

Friday was Rodrigues’ second two-goal game out of his last three. Against Northeastern University on Jan. 18, he had two goals and two assists, and he had one goal the next night against the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

“He arguably might be the best forward on our team right now, and sure is one of the hottest players in the league right now,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “That’ll be tough to replace.”

With Rodrigues out at the very least for the near future, more offensive responsibility falls on the shoulders of Nieto and Gill. Both have played better after slow starts to the season. Gill has at least one point in five of his last six games, and Nieto has crept back up to tie for third on the team with six goals.

Gill was also one of the most visible players on the ice on Friday – first with his goal, then with two breakaway attempts in the next several minutes. He didn’t score on either, but he showed the speed and determination he’ll need to replace Rodrigues’ finishing touch.

“Even if he’s in the lineup or if not, we’re two guys that need to step up,” Gill said of himself and Nieto. “Just speaking for myself, it’s got to be better. Close isn’t good enough this time of year.”

One Comment

  1. The hit on Rodrigues was the classic video to show kids how not to check. When I watched the refs gather at the blue line to talk things over you had to think they were talking 5 or 2 mins. They must have been thinking should we call diving.