PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — It was a ghastly experience for No. 8/9 Providence College on Halloween night at Schneider Arena, as No. 6 Boston University unleashed its full bag of tricks against the Friars, treating itself to a dominating 4-1 victory in the process.
The Terriers will look to continue their hot start to the season at home against the Friars Saturday night. If BU emerges victorious against Providence for the second night in as many games, it will be the program’s first 5-0 start since the 1991-92 campaign.
Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Terriers on Friday night:
D Steps Up Against The Friars
The Terriers’ defensive unit made their mark against the Friars, holding its opponent to just 18 shots in the game, including a minuscule three pegs in the final period of play.
Even with four power-play opportunities, the Friars could do little to generate offense, accruing just two shots on the man advantage.
“Our D corps is doing really well right now,” said freshman blueliner John MacLeod, who netted his first collegiate goal in the first period. “We’re working a lot on specifics in practice and stuff. We’re a young D corps, obviously. We have a lot of freshmen that are playing a lot of minutes, but we’re doing a great job so far. We just got to keep working hard to be successful.”
Second Line Succeeds
BU’s second line unit of senior forward Evan Rodrigues, senior forward Cason Hohmann and sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon excelled against the Friars Friday night, combining for six points in the win. Sarah Kirkpatrick has more on the performance of the second line here.
The Usual Suspects
BU received additional scoring from the ever-fruitful OREO line of freshman forward Jack Eichel, junior forward Ahti Oksanen and junior forward Danny O’Regan, who helped generate two goals for the Terriers.
Oksanen made it a 2-1 game at 2:12 in the second – cashing in on a juicy rebound off the pads of Providence goaltender Jon Gillies to give the Terriers their first lead of the night.
Eichel would later cap BU’s scoring efforts at 3:21 in the third, firing a wrister past Gillies on an impromptu breakaway to give the Terriers a three-goal cushion.
“I thought Jack played great,” Quinn said. “I thought he blocked shots – he was physical. He was, offensively, good. I thought he moved the puck better tonight. Sometimes when you got all that skill and you’re used to skating by five guys, I think he was holding on to it a little much early on this year, but I thought his puck movement was good, and that line was good again, it’s a dangerous line and it’s fun to watch him emerge.”
Down Goes Gillies
While his numbers this season may not stand as an accurate reflection on the standard that’s he’s set over the last two-plus seasons at Providence, Gillies is still an intimidating presence between the pipes.
Despite his skill in net, Gillies could do little against BU, as the Terriers peppered the netminder with 41 shots in the contest while generating offense as a result of a strong net-front presence and keen passing.
“It’s a great plan. It’s always a great plan to get 40 [shots],” Quinn said. “He’s a heck of a goalie, you got to get that net-front presence, you got to shoot pucks – two of them were on rebounds. … MacLeod’s shot was from the point but we had traffic. The next two goals were on rebounds and then Jack’s was a partial breakaway, so you got to get pucks on him.
“If you’re going to score four, you better get 40, because without question, he’s going to save a majority of them, but I thought that we did a good job in the offensive zone possessing and using our points.” Quinn said. “I thought we used the back of the net well, so you just got to get pucks on him, because he’s very, very good.”
The 2012 Calgary Flames prospect now possesses an unimpressive 1-4-1 record in his career against the Terriers.
Providence Jumps Out Early
While BU might have dominated the box score at the end of the game, Providence made it interesting early. The Friars were the first to get on the board, as forward Steven McParland fired a shot from the left circle that beat BU netminder Matt O’Connor blocker side to put PC up 1-0 at 7:37 in the first period.
That would be all that Providence would be able to muster against O’Connor and the Terriers, as the Toronto native registered 14 saves in his third win of the season.
A Tough Test At Home
Aside from the Friars’ first-period score, Quinn struggled to come up with many negatives to take away from Friday’s match. However, BU’s bench boss acknowledged that he expects BU’s foe from “The Ocean State” to bring everything it has Saturday night.
“I’ll find something, trust me. That’s my job,” Quinn said when asked to find additional flaws in BU’s performance. “I’m a coach, I can never be happy all of the time. But there’s always things you can work on — always. I know this, I know that we’re going to see a very determined hockey team tomorrow night. They’re well-coached, they’ve got a lot of good players.
“I know tomorrow night, and I’m not just saying this is in coach talk, this will be the hardest game of the year tomorrow,” Quinn added. “Without question.”