Farrance hat trick not enough to lift BU over No. 11 Providence

 

BU celebrates one of David Farrance’s goals from Friday night against Providence. Photo by Jenna Vansickle.

Despite junior defenseman David Farrance’s first collegiate hat trick, the Boston University men’s hockey team (2-3-4, 1-2-3 HE) could not get by No. 11 Providence College (5-3-2, 3-2-1 HE) in a 6-5 thriller at Schneider Arena on Saturday night.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “Coming down here and scoring 5? And losing? It’s brutal.”

First-period fireworks set the tone of Saturday’s contest, with the hosts getting on the front foot 11 minutes in when sophomore defenseman Michael Callahan’s long-range effort nicked off a body in front and beat graduate goaltender Sam Tucker to open the scoring.

BU responded quickly as David Farrance got a wrister through 26 seconds later on assists from junior forward Jake Witkowski and his freshman linemate Marcus Boguslavsky, both getting on the scoresheet for the first time this season.

“I thought we scored some really nice goals and made good hockey plays,” said O’Connell.  “I think that bodes well.”

Farrance struck again three minutes later on the power play, working a silky give-and-go with freshman forward Trevor Zegras and finishing at the right post. Freshman forward Robert Mastrosimone was also involved in the move, earning the secondary assist.

“Our power play is dangerous, so that’s a positive to take from the weekend,” O’Connell said.

Not to be outdone, Providence made it 2-2 just 28 seconds later on as an off-target shot caromed back to the goalmouth and freshman forward Jamie Engelbert was there to shove home his first as a Friar and knot up a four-goal first period.

Coach O’Connell labeled Engelbert’s tally as a “fortuitous bounce”.

The high-flying offense continued into the second, and BU thought they had taken the lead three minutes in when senior forward Patrick Harper punched in a Zegras pass on the power play. However, the officials would call the goal back due to a previous offsides.

In another goal that triggered a video review only a minute later, PC freshman defenseman Max Crozier forced in his first collegiate goal amidst a scramble around Tucker. This one would stand, and the Friars would draw first blood in the second.

According to O’Connell, “that was a big goal momentum-wise in the game.”

The lead became two for the first time in the game at 7:30 when freshman forward Parker Ford buried a loose puck in Tucker’s crease, provoking O’Connell to replace the grad transfer with sophomore Vinnie Purpura.

“We were just trying to change the momentum,” said Farrance in regards to BU’s decision to switch netminders.

The goaltending change achieved its desired effect of awakening the Terriers, who came to life a minute later when Trevor Zegras fired in his second goal of the weekend on assists from Harper and Farrance, who had led the rush into the Friar end.

“[Zegras] keeps getting better and better,” said O’Connell. “He had a really good weekend.”

BU got back on level terms with eight minutes left thanks to another David Farrance strike, capping off his hat trick and a five-goal series for the outright team lead in goals with eight. The power play rocket was teed up by Zegras and freshman defenseman Domenick Fensore.

“It’s a pretty special feeling,” said Farrance, who now leads all of Division I college hockey defensemen in goals and points.

Once again the tie would not last long. A minute after Farrance’s equalizer, PC sophomore forward Tyce Thompson roofed a rebound from just outside the crease to send the hosts into the second break ahead 5-4.

The Friars dealt a killer blow three minutes into the third period when a seeing-eye blast by Max Crozier found its way through Purpura and in to double the lead. That would be the night for Purpura, and Tucker re-entered for the final 17 minutes.

“It was just a slapshot from the blue line, and that’s the difference in the game,” said O’Connell.

Timely stops by Tucker kept BU within striking range, and with seven minutes to play, freshman forward Ethan Phillips swiped a loose puck across the goal line for his first goal as a Terrier with the help of freshman defenseman Case McCarthy and Mastrosimone.

“I think we showed a lot of resiliency,” Farrance said.

Ultimately BU’s late comeback push came up just short, as Providence hung on to maintain the 6-5 final.

As Farrance put it, “you can’t give up six goals and expect to win.”

With a strong offensive effort but only another winless weekend against a Hockey East contender, the men in scarlet and white were left with mixed emotions following the loss.

“We have to clean some stuff up,” said O’Connell. “There are some plays being made out there that are just insane. With that said, we scored five goals.”

Above all, Farrance and his head coach both know that the Terriers still have

“I think we can only get better,” said the junior blueliner.

O’Connell agreed, saying, “I think we’ll continue to get better as guys become a little more mature and experienced.” He added, “Our intelligence as a hockey team has to grow. That’s the biggest thing.”

BU will face another tough test in Frozen Four finalist No. 2 UMass (6-1-0, 2-1-0 HE) next weekend, with the series kicking off at Agganis Arena on Friday night before shifting to Amherst on Saturday.

14 thoughts on “Farrance hat trick not enough to lift BU over No. 11 Providence

  1. Team shows good promise. D can be fixed I believe with coaching and experience. They work hard not like last year. We could use another tender in the nets. Lynch should move up to number two I believe. Should be seriously think of movement there for second semester. What they can do I know not.

    • I think the potential is definitely there SOCC, and we know the defense has the potential to be much better. I can’t say I’m with you on the goalie thoughts – Lynch hasn’t been more than a practice keeper in his career and has no real upside as a senior, so even if Purpura is shaky now as a backup, at least he has size and youth on his side. As for bringing in another guy, I think Tucker has proven he can be fine, he just needs to settle down his movement a bit and avoid losing his positioning.

  2. Bad: we lost
    Good: we showed we can play with just about anyone in the country and we are just a goaltender away from being scary. Buckle up, it’s gonna be fun

  3. tucker is a flopper. he was so out of position last night it was brutal. Jason Tapp reincarnate

    i can only hope that the rumors of BU bringing in another goalie second semester are true. Purpura aint the answer

    great effort last night. great resiliency, but with no goaltender it all adds up to one measly point. yuck

    • Off-night for Tucker. Settle down the positioning and he’ll be fine. It is tough to leave with just the single point, Vinnie.

    • Hi Vinnie and all. Greetings from Tel Aviv. Looks like Commesso is having an outstanding USNTDP season. He will arrive next fall.

    • By all accounts he will be, TK. Just one off-night, let’s not forget about how good we felt about Tucker for 5 straight games before this one!

  4. We had jake last year and I remember going on this blog and everyone was knocking me for backing Jake. Also everyone wanted max out of town. I think tucker has played well for the last 4 games before last night. And for Purpura he came in at a tough spot. I really like this team and I’m staying positive even at goaltending. I will let coaches figure out what is best for team and I will continue to support our present goalies. Our D is fine they are providing us a lot of offense. I’m glad fourth line played more and contributed. Again we are young and we need patience. Refs again were terrible

    • Thank you for keeping an open mind about the goalies Colin, I think we shouldn’t be so quick to write them off. The defense can do more to help the goalies I’d say, and you’re right about the fourth line chipping in more. Patience is key, as long as it doesn’t bury you in the conference standings…

  5. Yes, overall the team is young. Tucker is a veteran who has played high level hockey. I expect more from him TK out!

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