By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
PROVIDENCE -- The first sign that the No. 7/8 Boston University men's hockey team's Friday's tilt against Providence College may not go well came when the bus arrived late to the rink, pushing back game-time by 15 minutes. But it was not just the bus that showed up late, as the Terriers' (1-1, 1-1 Hockey East) inconsistent effort Friday night led to a 5-3 loss to the Friars (1-0, 1-0 HE).
"I thought we weren’t ready for the speed of the game," said BU coach Jack Parker. "They blew us out of the building the first ten minutes of the game. I thought even though we didn’t score we settled down a little bit in the first, then they got the third goal, but we were playing a little bit better in the second half of the first period."
In the early goings of the game, it looked like the defense was late as well. Just 2:48 into the game, a turnover from junior defenseman Sean Escobedo left Providence captain Andy Balysky with a clear shot from the top of the right circle. The captain capitalized, beating senior goalie Kieran Millan high glove-side.
Only 34 seconds later, Providence doubled its lead when a failed clear in front of the net allowed Matt Montesano to score from the low slot.
"Obviously it was their first game of the season, and they got going right off the get-go," said junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson. "It’s obviously tough coming in here and not having a warm-up. Guys didn’t even have their sticks taped. I don’t think that’s an excuse, and we only play twice a week and we prepare during the week mentally. They just worked harder than us in the first ten minutes."
BU called a timeout after the goal and seemed to regroup. The Terriers had three power plays in the first period, but failed to score on any of them. Then, only 50 seconds after the third Terrier power play, the Friars extended their lead to 3-0 when Stefan Demopoulos snuck a puck under Millan’s arm at 16:24.
The three power plays in the first marked the only times that BU was able to control play in the frame. The Terriers struggled to break out of the neutral zone and turned over countless pucks at blue lines.
"We had trouble because we wanted to make pretty plays," Parker said. "This rink, and especially the way they play, you have to dump it in a lot, and we weren’t doing it. We turned the puck over a number of times, we were trying to make a play, missing on the puck, and the puck gets chucked the other way, or the puck died right there when it should have been behind the goal line."
But in the second period, it was the Terriers who came out strong. Just 1:31 into the frame, sophomore forward Matt Nieto roofed a shot past Beaudry to narrow the deficit to 3-1. Friar Steven Shamanski tripped Nieto on the goal, and the Terriers made the most of the penalty. Just 52 seconds after Nieto’s tally, senior forward Corey Trivino tapped a rebound off junior forward Wade Megan’s shot behind Beaudry to tighten the game to 3-2.
The Friars held on to their 3-2 lead for the rest of the second period, but 3:13 into the third period, sophomore defenseman Garrett Noonan tied the game when he flipped a puck over Beaudry.
But on Noonan’s goal, junior defenseman Max Nicastro got called for a high-sticking infraction, and this time it was the Friars who took advantage on the power play. With 29 seconds left on the advantage, Friar Myles Harvey blasted a slap-shot from the blue line past Millan to make it 4-3.
Almost three minutes later, the Friars cemented their lead on a key mistake by freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera, who was caught way out of position and allowed Demopoulos an unobstructed shot on Millan. The senior goaltender made the initial save, but Ross Mauermann buried the rebound from the opposite side of the crease to make it a 5-3 game.
"I thought we left [Millan] out to dry tonight," Parker said. "He had a couple back-door goals, a couple real bad missed coverages by us, the power-play goal was a bad screen, the guy didn’t block the goal he just screened our goalie instead. I should say, I don’t know if the guys actually blocked the shots, but Kieran didn’t quite see it."
Millan was not the only Terrier with vision issues. Throughout the game, the Terriers struggled to connect on passes and tripped multiple times on open ice. The rink was often foggy, especially near the nets. But while conditions were not great, BU was not about to make excuses.
"It was terrible," Chiasson said of the ice. "It was hard to make good passes and you never knew where the puck was going to go. But it’s the same ice for both teams, and they ended up winning, so you can’t take that as an excuse."