Hockey East Roundup: BU, Providence, Northeastern Take Series Leads
Boston University 5, Connecticut 4 (OT)
Boston University leads series, 1-0
Bobo Carpenter’s goal at 5:02 of the first overtime gave Boston University a 5-4 win in Game 1 of its best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series with Connecticut Friday night.
Game 2 comes Saturday night from Agganis Arena in Boston. The game gets under way at 7 p.m.
“You just have to find a way to win playoff games,” BU coach Dave Quinn said. “I’m happy with the outcome of the game, but I’m certainly not happy with the way the game started. I thought we looked sluggish, I thought (UConn) had a lot more will than we did.”
“I thought it was a great hockey game,” UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “Two even teams. It went to overtime. … It’s not a single-elimination series. We have to turn the page and put forth that type of effort (Saturday).
“That’s a great team (BU), and we went toe-to-toe with them for 60 minutes.”
The fourth-seeded Terriers spent most of the evening chasing the fifth-seeded Huskies, surviving with Carpenter’s wraparound tally. BU outshot UConn, 5-2, in the overtime. But the Huskies spent most of the evening on the front foot, holding a 38-33 shots-on goal-advantage after regulation.
Krys’ goal completed a comeback of sorts for the Terriers, responding to a late go-ahead goal by UConn’s Benjamin Freeman.
Freeman’s goal with 5:03 left in regulation seemed to send UConn on its way to a series lead. However, for the second time in the evening, BU responded quickly. Chad Krys tied the game just 1:25 later, blowing the UConn blue line and beating UConn goaltender Adam Huska high glove.
The game’s opening goal saw a similar response from BU.
UConn’s Max Kalter scored at 4:34 of the first period. Jordan Greenway’s first of thr game came just 18 seconds later and tied the game, 1-1. It was the first of three leads UConn wasted on the evening.
Throughout the game, the teams traded leads and responses, aided by some struggles from both goaltenders. The save counts were high — 36 for UConn’s Adam Huska and 34 from BU’s Jake Oettinger — but both netminders struggled controlling the puck and themselves on a choppy Agganis Arena ice sheet.
For Huska, it was his first game since Jan. 12. The sophomore spent most of the second half recovering from an injury. He is expected to get the start again on Saturday.
“I thought he was fine,” Cavanaugh said. “I thought he gave us a chance to win the hockey game. There were some goals that got tipped … Overall, he was pretty solid.”
Despite the lead, BU is well aware that UConn played more than well enough to win on Friday and will be ready to keep their season alive in Game 2.
“You look across the league, every game was a one-goal win,” Quinn said. “This is a hard league. College hockey’s hard. If anybody thinks just because you’re a higher seed, you’re gonna blow somebody out, they haven’t been paying attention to college hockey. College hockey is hard. (UConn) is good. We’re gonna have to be really good to win (Saturday) night.”
Providence 4, Maine 3
Providence leads series, 1-0
After 8 minutes, the story was Tim Doherty and a brilliant performance from Maine goaltender Jeremy Swayman.
Then, third-seeded Providence took over and responded to a series of turns dealt by both Maine, luck and the officials.
The Friars outlasted No. 6 Maine, 4-3, Friday night to take a 1-0 series lead heading into Saturday’s Game 2 scheduled for 7 p.m. at Schneider Arena. The Black Bears, after an impressive season, will look to force a Game 3.
“You don’t get anything for winning one game,” Maine coach Red Gendron said. “You’ve got to win two and that’s how we look at it.”
PC’s Josh Wilkins scored his 14th goal of the season at 16:50 of the third period to give PC its 4-3 lead. However, it was PC’s first-period response that defined the game.
The Friars dominated the opening half of the first period, but Doherty converted on both of Maine’s early chances to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead after 8 minutes. PC tied it in a hurry on goals from Erik Foley and Bailey Conger in a 41-second span.
“Maine’s first two chances went in,” PC coach Nate Leaman said. “I give the guys a lot of credit. They didn’t play the scoreboard. They just played the game, took it next shift, next shift. Even in the third period, we just had to play it shift by shift. It was a good little step for us because we had a lot of youth out there tonight.
“All night, we lacked any detail defensively. Part of that is, we hadn’t played a game in a while. A couple of our D, they looked like they were in mud a little bit early. At the end of the game, they really had their legs.”
When Maine took the lead back at 12:43 of the second period, PC’s equalizer was only a matter of time. Scott Conway scored at 18:35 to tie the game.
PC’s final show of will came in the middle of the third period. Leading-scorer Erik Foley took a 5-minute major penalty and game misconduct for a boarding penalty at 13:46 of regulation. A Maine minor 1:25 into the major nullified 2 minutes of the 5-minute power play and led directly to Wilkins’ goal.
Swayman finished the game with 37 saves for the Black Bears.
Northeastern 3, UMass 2
Northeastern leads series, 1-0
When Northeastern hasn’t had its best, it’s always had its power play.
All season long, the vaunted Northeasten man advantage has carried the Huskies through its toughest nights.
Friday’s Game 1 against Massachusetts was no different. The lone penalty UMass took was a 5-minute major to Jake Gaudet midway through the second period. The Huskies took a 2-0 lead and ultimately held on for a 3-2 win over the Minutemen.
“I’m very proud of my team,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “We came out and played the way we wanted to, but we hit a guy in the numbers, took a five-minute penalty and that’s the difference in the game.”
“It was physical,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “We expect (our best three players) to get attention. They had a few of their guys in (Adam Gaudette’s) face all game long. It’s playoff hockey, so you’re not getting those calls. If it’s a regular season, you’re getting those calls, so we’ve just got to live with it and keeping battling. You’re battling for every bit of space on the ice and hope good things happen.”
Cayden Primeau made 29 saves in the win, including 12 in the third period to keep his Huskies in control.
Nolan Stevens and Dylan Sikura scored on the major penalty, giving NU a 2-0 lead. While UMass would eventually tie the game on goals from Austin Albrecht and Brett Boeing, the energy spent rallying from the deficit put UMass in a hole.
A huge penalty kill by NU in the latter stages of the third period set the stages for Sikura’s second goal of the night — the eventual game-winner.
“Unforunate how they scored their third goal,” Carvel said. “We were on a power play and had some good bids to take the lead. We did a good job 5 on 5, but you can’t give Sikura that shot in the slot, and their power play is too good to give them 5 minutes. Again, if we can stay out of the penalty box, I like our chances for (Saturday).”
With the 1-0 lead, NU will look to close the series out Saturday at Matthews Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Minutemen will look to rally and force a third game. UMass has not advanced beyond the quarterfinals of the Hockey East tournament since the 2006-07 season.
The Huskies’ win kept NU in the race for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and assured them of their second season with at least 22 wins in the last three years.