It’s been three years since the No. 18 Boston University men’s hockey team faced No. 9 Providence College at TD Garden. In that game, the Friars (23-10-4, 13-7-4 Hockey East) overcame Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Jack Eichel and downed BU (20-13-4, 12-8-4 Hockey East) to take home the school’s first national championship.
For the Terriers, the options are simple: with a win they secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but with a loss, their season is over.
BU’s season almost ended Friday night at the hands of No. 14 Boston College.
The Eagles (20-14-3, 18-6 Hockey East) jumped out to a 2-0 lead by three minutes and 26 seconds into the second period.
However, the Terriers battled to send the game into overtime, where sophomore forward Patrick Curry cleaned up a rebound from freshman forward Shane Bowers 15:40 into the extended period to send BU to the championship game.
The Terriers have remained undefeated (13-0-2) in games where Curry has notched a point.
The Friars also needed overtime to put themselves in position to win their first Hockey East crown since 1996.
In a battle of two top-10 teams, Providence overcame No. 7 Northeastern University 2-1 in overtime.
The Friars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period, but the Huskies (23-9-5 15-6-3 Hockey East) knotted the game in the second period thanks to a short-handed goal by senior forward and assistant captain Dylan Sikura.
Freshman forward Austin Goldstein and sophomore forward Kasper Bjorkqvist each tallied goals for Northeastern and Providence, respectively, in the third period, but sophomore forward Brandon Duhaime scored the game-winner for the Friars 9:55 into overtime.
BU and Providence split the three regular season games evenly at 1-1-1, with both wins coming from the home team.
Sophomore defenseman Chad Krys picked up three points against the Friars, including a two-goal game at Agganis Arena on Nov. 3. Junior forward and assistant captain Bobo Carpenter also recorded a two-goal game against Providence at Agganis on Jan. 13.
The Friars are led by Hockey East First-Team All-Stars junior forward Erik Foley and sophomore defenseman Jacob Bryson. Foley recorded two goals against the Terriers this season.
In net, the Friars feature Hockey East All-Star Second Team member junior goaltender Hayden Hawkey — who shutout BU earlier this season at Schneider Arena. He will be tasked with stopping a BU offense that averages 3.14 goals per game, a mark that is good for second in the conference.
Hawkey’s netminding counterpart, sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger, also recorded a shutout in the series on Nov. 3. The Terriers will rely on the Lakeville, Minnesota native to slow down a Providence team that is third in the conference in scoring, as the Friars average 3.11 goals per game.
Providence already has guaranteed its spot in the NCAA tournament, but for the Terriers, it is the definition of “win or go home.”