By Gillian McMahon
Following an electric 4-3 Beanpot semi-final win over Harvard on Monday night at the TD Garden, the Boston University men’s hockey team (15-10-3, 10-6-3 HE) will travel south to take on the Providence College Friars (18-11-2, 9-9-1 HE) tonight in a pivotal Hockey East matchup.
Through games on Feb. 7, the US College Hockey Online ranking has the Friars listed at no. 17, while the Terriers sit at no. 20 in the charts.
These two teams played the first half of their season series over a week ago on Jan. 30 in Boston, which resulted in a 5-2 win for the Terriers in sophomore goaltender Drew Commesso’s last game before heading off for the Olympics.
Though the Terriers handled the Friars well, scoring five goals, including two from junior forward Wilmer Skoog, the Friars will certainly come out and play hard on Thursday. Providence most recently put up a 4-1 home win against the University of Vermont Catamounts on Feb. 5.
Providence’s points leaders are sophomore forwards Brett Berard and Nick Poisson, with 32 and 31 points respectively, and a combined 22 goals on the year. They were involved in two of the goals scored in the game versus UVM.
Since their last meeting, the Terriers put up a strong performance on Friday night, shutting out the University of Maine, and continuing their recent success into a big Beanpot win on Monday.
Sophomore goalie Vinny Duplessis has risen to the occasion as he’s had big shoes to fill in Commesso’s absence at such a critical point in the college hockey season. Head coach Albie O’Connell only had good things to say about his effort on Monday under the bright lights of the Beanpot.
“He handled himself very well. He was pretty poised at times going out to handle the puck” said O’Connell in the post-game press conference. He didn’t feel the need to give Duplessis any kind of message leading up to the third period saying, “Vinny is a pretty confident guy.”
With only a few games left in the regular season, every matchup counts as we start to look towards the Terriers’ postseason position. The Hockey East standings are tight, with only a five-point separation between the top four teams. UMass Lowell leads Hockey East with 37 points, followed by UMass Amherst with 33, and BU and UConn are tied for third with 32 points.
Though it might be easy to get caught up in the excitement between Beanpot games, the Terriers seem to be heading into this Providence matchup with the right mindset. Captain Logan Cockerill expressed in the Beanpot post-game conference the importance of staying focused on the next game at hand which is the right message to share in the locker room going into the second half of such a busy and emotional week of hockey.
The Terriers will face the Northeastern Huskies in the Beanpot Championship on Monday night, and then will get a bit of a break, before a home and home battle of Comm Ave with Boston College on Feb. 25 and 26.
The puck drop is set for 5 p.m. from Schneider Arena in Providence, Rhode Island. The Boston Hockey Blog will have live coverage from the game on our social media channels, as well as a post-game recap. Continue to follow along on Instagram @boston.hockey.blog and Twitter @BOSHockeyblog.