At Agganis Arena on Friday night, the Boston University men’s hockey team came back to tie no. 11 Providence 3-3 behind two third-period goals from junior defenseman David Farrance.
“I think it’s hard to play with us for a full 60 minutes,” said Farrance, whose Terriers (2-2-4, 1-1-3 Hockey East) clawed back late to earn a point just as they had in Maine a game before, this time doing it in two-goal fashion against a hot Providence side (4-3-2, 2-2-1 Hockey East).
After a hard-hitting first period, the action ramped up the second. A flurry of goals was ignited three minutes in when the hosts found the icebreaker.
Senior forward Patrick Harper zipped one in front to freshman forward Trevor Zegras. The first-year made no mistake, roofing his third goal of the season to give BU the lead.
“I think he’s doing a better job of getting to the net,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said of Zegras. “I think he’s starting to realize that the goals are at the front of the net most of the time.”
The Terrier advantage would be short-lived, as junior forward Greg Printz tipped in a shot by freshman defenseman Albin Nillson to level the score just over a minute later.
BU looked lively after the PC equalizer, thanks in part to a Friar penalty. However, it was Printz who knocked in the game’s next goal, ripping one to the top right corner on a rush at 8:56.
The visitors’ advantage became two when freshman forward Patrick Moynihan fired in a power play tally late, sending BU into the second break down a pair despite leading in shots on goal 24-16.
O’Connell chalked up BU’s temporary lapses to growing pains, saying, “we’ve got a lot of freshman [defensemen] in the lineup, there’s going to be mistakes.”
Three minutes into the third, the Terriers found life.
Working on the power play, Zegras dropped it to his fellow freshman forward Robert Mastrosimone, who swung a pass across for David Farrance to blast home.
“There wasn’t anything fancy about it,” said Coach O’Connell in regards to the improvements that helped BU break through on the man advantage. “Simplicity is better.”
After surviving a penalty kill late in the third, the Terriers took full advantage when Providence committed a penalty of their own.
With 2:17 left, it was Farrance again whose bomb from the point got through, with the helpers credited to Harper, tallying his second of the game, and Zegras, making for a three-point night.
“My job was pretty easy; just slide it to [Farrance] and let him shoot,” Zegras said with a laugh.
For the second contest in a row, BU’s late push would get them to overtime.
“I wish [our offense] would click earlier, but it kind of just happens in the third,” said Zegras.
Tensions ran high in the extra frame, as a major penalty was assessed to Friar sophomore forward Tyce Thompson and scuffles would follow every whistle down the stretch.
“Any time you play Providence, it’s physical,” O’Connell said. “You have to earn your ice.”
Ultimately, neither team could find a winner in the 3-3 draw, and the points would be split.
“I thought we played hard from the start of the game to the end,” said O’Connell.
With the teams squaring off again on Saturday night, it’s likely that the bad blood that emerged at the end of Friday’s contest will resurface in Saturday’s grudge match.
PC head coach Nate Leaman welcomes the physicality, saying, “I certainly hope it carries over to tomorrow.”
Will the Terriers match Providence’s tenacity as they did on Friday? David Farrance thinks so.
“I think it kind of just fuels the fire for us to kind of push back at them tomorrow.”
Trevor Zegras added, “I’m excited for tomorrow.”
The series will be settled in Providence on Saturday at 7pm when BU and Providence meet at Schneider Arena.