BOSTON - The second-ranked Boston University men's ice hockey team had its eight-game unbeaten streak come to an end on Tuesday night, as the Terriers were stunned by Providence, 4-2, at Agganis Arena. Seniors Brandon Yip and Chris Higgins each scored their team-leading 10th goal of the season for the Terriers, who fall to 14-5-1 overall and 7-5-1 in Hockey East play.
The Friars never trailed in the game and used back-to-back goals by freshman Matt Bergland in the middle stages of the second to break a 1-1 tie and go on to earn their third straight win. Freshman goaltender Alex Beaudry made 39 saves in just his second career start to help Providence improve to 5-12-1 with a 2-8-1 conference mark.
Higgins assisted on Yip's goal for a two-point night and sophomore Colin Wilson assisted on both BU tallies, which each came on the power play. Freshman Grant Rollheiser recorded 21 saves in goal for the Terriers, who had a five-game win streak snapped despite holding a 41-24 shot advantage. BU was 7-0-1 in its previous eight contests.
The visiting Friars took advantage of BU mistakes throughout the night, beginning with the first goal of the game at 9:30 of the first.
Junior Chris Eppich snuck behind a Terrier defender in the neutral zone and received a pass from senior Matt Taormina to set up a breakaway along the right side. Eppich's shot clanged off the far post and in. Freshman David Brown also assisted on the play.
The Friars nearly doubled their lead later in the first, but Rollheiser stuffed freshman Robert Maloney, who was all alone on a breakaway, with just under eight minutes left to play in the period.
BU knotted the score before the first intermission, taking full advantage of its first power-play chance of the evening.
From the right corner, Wilson passed to Higgins, who was positioned above the right post. Higgins' pass through the low slot bounced around the front of the crease before Yip sent home the puck from above the left post at 15:50.
The Terriers nearly took the lead in the third minute of play in the second, as a shot by Chris Connolly appeared to go in, but was waived off by a referee. Video review upheld the call and the game remained in a 1-1 stalemate.
Bergland scored the game-winner at 8:24 of the middle stanza off a clearing miscue by BU along the boards. The freshman collected the puck and set up a give-and-go with sophomore Ian O'Connor, resulting in an off-balance backhanded shot just outside the right crease that eluded Rollheiser.
Consecutive BU penalties just three seconds apart on juniors Eric Gryba and Luke Popko midway through the second proved to be costly, as the Friars cashed in on the resulting 5-on-3 to take a 3-1 lead. Quick passing by junior Mark Fayne and senior Pierce Norton resulted in an easy look for Bergland outside the right crease at 12:08.
Two penalties against PC in the final minute of the second gave the Terriers a 5-on-3 chance that they also converted, but not until the early moments of the third, ending BU's streak of scoring at least one goal of 16 straight periods.
Higgins knocked home a redirect from the left crease on assists from Wilson and sophomore Colby Cohen at the 21-second mark of the final stanza to get back within one at 3-2.
The Terriers recorded 18 shots on goal in the third, but could not get another shot past Beaudry.
The Friars reestablished a two-goal edge when Cohen fell down while possessing the puck parallel to the BU goal with just under 10 minutes left in regulation. O'Connor picked up the loose puck and skated around the goal before knocking in a second effort.
Rollheiser was pulled with just over two minutes left in regulation, but a penalty on sophomore Kevin Shattenkirk to prevent an empty-net goal essentially ended hopes of a late comeback.
BU will return to action on Friday (Jan. 16) when it visits Merrimack for a Hockey East contest beginning at 7 p.m.