PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A three-goal second period by fourth-ranked Boston College proved to be insurmountable for the Providence College men's hockey team on Friday, March 1 as the No. 20 Friars fell 3-2 in a hard-fought battle of first-place Hockey East teams at Schneider Arena.
While skating on a five-minute power play early in the second period, the Eagles (19-9-3, 14-8-2 HEA) used goals by Pat Mullane and Michael Matheson to jump out to a 2-0 lead, but on the same power play, sophomore Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) struck shorthanded for the Friars to make it 2-1. Steven Whitney then scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 12:48 of the frame.
Freshman Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) cut the lead to one with a power-play tally of his own at 3:54 of the third, but the Friars (13-11-7, 11-7-6 HEA) could not get any closer. Providence freshman goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) stopped 31 shots in the game while Parker Milner made 24 saves in the Boston College net.
After a scoreless first period of play, Mullane broke the tie in favor of the Eagles at the 2:30 minute mark of the second period. Mullane's tally was the first of multiple goals scored on a Boston College power play after freshman John Gilmour (Montreal, Quebec) was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for a hit from behind on Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau. Mullane grabbed the puck and cut in through the Friars goal crease and put the puck past Gillies for a 1-0 lead.
Eagles defenseman Michael Matheson doubled the lead at 3:48 when he finished off a sequence of offensive pressure in the Friars' zone by firing a one-timer from the right point. Mauermann quickly cut the lead in half while shorthanded at 4:29 of the frame after he beat a Boston College defenseman to the puck at center ice, skated in on a breakaway, and fired the puck over Milner into the top of the net. Mauermann's goal, his eleventh of the season, was unassisted.
The Eagles reclaimed their two goal lead when Whitney scored on a shot from the right face-off circle, just seconds after a Providence penalty expired to make the score 3-1.
In the third, the Friars cut the deficit to one once again when Saracino scored a power-play goal at 3:54 of the third period. Mauermann and freshman Paul de Jersey (West Vancouver, B.C.) recorded assists on the goal after starting the break out that sprung Saracino through the neutral zone and into the Eagles' offensive zone. Saracino skated in beat Milner high for his sixth goal of the year.
With the goalie pulled in favor of the extra attacker, Providence junior Steven Shamanski (Carberry, Manitoba) had a look from the high slot as time expired but his drive went just wide of the net.
The Eagles outshot Providence, 34-26, in the game even though they did not register a shot on goal until 8:30 of the first period. Special teams played an important role in the game as four of the five goals were either scored on the power play or while shorthanded. Providence went 1-for-4 on the power play while also adding a shorthanded goal and BC finished the game 2-for-5 on the man advantage.
The home-and-home series between the No. 20 Friars and the No. 4 Eagles concludes at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, March 2) at Kelley Rink in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The game will be televised live on NESN.
Notes Providence came into the game ranked for the first time this season (ranked 20th), as they were ranked for the first time since Dec. 5, 2011 (ranked 20th both times) ... The win by the Eagles snapped PC's nation-long unbeaten streak at seven games ... Ross Mauermann has scored in at least two consecutive games for the third time this season and set a career high with his 11th goal of the year ... Freshman Nick Saracino has scored a goal in both games versus Boston College this season.