PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College women's ice hockey team came back from a 2-1 third period defecit to tie Boston College, 2-2, and earn their way into the 2008 Hockey East Tournament. It marks the 27th consecutive season the Friars have qualified for post season play. With the tie, Providence now stands at 15-15-4 (10-8-3 HE) on the season, while Boston College moves to 14-13-7 overall (9-9-3 HE).
With emotions running high at the start of the game, the Friars were able to apply strong early pressure and take a 1-0 lead just 34 seconds into the game. Senior Sarah Feldman (Fall River, Mass.) blocked an attempted clear by the Eagle defense before deking past an Eagle defender and lifting a back-handed shot over the left shoulder of Boston College netminder Molly Schaus for her seventh goal of the year. Providence and Boston College exchanged penalties throughout the period, with each team finding their way into the box four times. The Eagles were able to capitalize on a Friar penalty at 10:58 when sophomore Tracy Johnson fired a shot from blue line that beat Providence goalie Danielle Ciarletta (Blaine, Minn.) glove side. The power-play goal was assisted by senior Erin Blood. With only 28 seconds left in the period, Ciarletta made a difficult left-pad save on BC's Deb Spillane, as the two teams played four-on-four hockey. At the end of the first period, Providence held a 14-9 advantage in shots.
In the second period, the teams generated scoring opportunities. BC's Allie Thunstrom had an excellent chance to put the Eagles ahead at 13:45, but Ciarletta flashed her right pad to keep the game tied at 1-1. The Friars' Kathleen Smith (Waterloo, Ontario) then came close to giving PC the lead moments later when she beat the BC defense and went 1-on-1 with Schaus, but the sophomore netminder got her right skate on Smith shot to deflect it wide. Boston College was able to take the lead with only 47 seconds left in the second period when sophomore Kelli Stack found herself on a breakaway and beat Ciarletta with a back-hander for her 22nd goal of the season. The goal was assisted by Maggie Taverna and Spillane.
Down by a goal and needing at least a tie to advance to the post season, the Friars put the pressure on the Eagles to start the third period. The consistent attack in the Eagle's defensive zone led to the game tying tally. At 6:52, Feldman positioned herself in the slot and deflected a shot from the blue line by Amber Yung (Rockville, Va.) that slid into the lower right corner of the net. The goal was Feldman's second of the game and eighth of the year. The tally was also assisted by junior Erin Normore (Cambridge, Ont.). Ciarletta was able to make several more saves down the stretch, and the Friar forwards were able to keep the puck in BC's zone for most of the overtime stanza to secure the tie.
In net, Ciarletta finished with 25 saves for the Friars, while Schaus had 39 stops for the Eagles.
The Friars return to action next weekend as they face-off against the Huskies of Connecticut in the semifinals round of the Hockey East Tournament. The game will be played on Saturday, March 8 at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Conn.