Sighs of relief from the Boston College Men’s Hockey team could be heard all across the city on Friday night as the Eagles finally returned to their home ice following a brutal road stretch that saw them get outclassed by Notre Dame and Arizona State. The Eagles did not look like a team on the three-game skid, but pulled away late to defeat No. 7 Providence 4-2 on Friday night.
BC got on the scoreboard after only 12 seconds when Logan Hutsko stole the puck off a Providence defenseman in his own zone and fed Michael Cotton for a deflected finish that popped over the head of Providence’s goaltender. The lead didn’t hold for long, though, as Providence capitalized on a sloppy BC turnover for a rapid 3-on-2 counter to tie the game at 1 apiece. Joseph Wilkins, who slid home the goal for Providence, extended his nation-leading point streak to 11 consecutive games in the process.
Shortly after, a second BC turnover ignited another quick Friar break that put the Eagles behind 2-1 at the end of the first period. Providence could have easily put five or six goals on the Eagles in the first if not for the heroics of Joseph Woll, who turned away several great looks with a series of acrobatic pad saves.
BC clawed right back to tie the game just three minutes into the second period off a low one-time strike by defenseman Michael Kim–his first goal of the season. Three consecutive penalties put the Eagles on their heels for the rest of the frame, but the defense, after looking leaky early in the night, did a fantastic job with physical play and some bone-rattling hits, thus preventing Providence from getting good looks on goal.
The Friars had a two-minute stretch of 5-on-3 play, but failed to take advantage of the golden opportunity with two shots skipping off the left post. Somehow, the Eagles escaped the second period by the skin of their teeth with the game deadlocked at 2.
BC scored quickly for the third period in a row, as Julius Mattila finished off a feed from his twin brother Jesper during 4-on-4 play to give the Eagles a 3-2 advantage. With momentum now on their side, BC finally took the chance to settle down and play their game. The defense held strong throughout the rest of the game, giving Woll a much-deserved rest in net by shutting down an aggressive Providence attack.
With about two minutes remaining, the Friars pulled their goalie in search of an equalizer, but Christopher Brown shut the door on any hopes of a comeback by coolly sliding a fourth goal into the empty net from just inside center ice.
The 4-2 victory was a much-needed turnaround for the Eagles and arguably their biggest win of the season so far. It extended BC’s home record to a strong 5-2-2 on the season, but they remain a woeful 2-7 on the road. The Eagles will look to improve on that road record take the top spot from UMass in the Hockey East standings when they face off against New Hampshire Saturday night.