In a battle of two young teams, Providence outplayed Boston College men’s hockey for most of Friday night. The difference in the game was that BC’s young guys finished and the Friars’ didn’t. Freshmen Zach Walker and Ron Greco both beat Hayden Hawkey, but none of PC’s underclassmen could solve the Eagles’ Joe Woll in a 3-1 BC win.
Among other examples, PC freshman Josh Wilkins had good looks in both of the first two periods but couldn’t convert. Sophomore Bryan Lemos had the best shot at Woll in the last half of the third, before Greco put the game away. Lemos got stoned by Woll there, as did classmate Scott Conway on a couple other occasions. BC’s second goal came on a counter-rush that started when Scott Savage intercepted a pass deep in the BC zone from Finnish Friars freshman Kasper Bjorkqvist. If those players keep creating those kinds of chances, Providence will probably be fine, but it couldn’t grab two attainable points on Friday. Head coach Nate Leaman said after the game that his team got great looks, but hasn’t finished on many of them. A lot of that he attributes to the youth.
“When you’re young, you look for cute plays,” Leaman said. “We had breakaways, I think we had two four on twos, and on one of them we missed the net and on the other we didn’t get a shot. More mature teams know, you gotta bang those.”
Greco and Walker do not have the most gleaming pedigree out of BC’s freshmen, and their lines—third and fourth, respectively—did not possess the puck too much against the Friars, either. Yet, when Walker found himself on a breakaway in the first, he pumped down the ice and beat Hawkey short side before Josh Monk could alter his shot. Then, with less than three minutes left in the game, the puck deflected off a couple people and fell to Greco, wide-open in the slot. The Philadelphia native took advantage and ripped a snapshot top corner for his first career goal. Walker’s geno was also the first of his collegiate tenure.
“We need the freshmen to contribute and it can’t just be the highlighted guys, the superstars,” associate head coach Greg Brown said after the game. “We’re gonna need depth scoring, and when two guys like that give you two goals, it’s enormous.”
“It’s obviously good to get my first goal under my belt, but getting the two points is the most important thing,” Greco said, showing that he’s caught on pretty quick.
“I love going on the ice and grabbing those pucks,” captain Chris Calnan said. “I remember scoring my first goal, and that’s just a dream come true.”
BC went 0-for-5 on the power play Friday night. In the first two periods, the man-advantage looked pretty bad, too. The Eagles didn’t score on either their 5-on-4 or their 5-on-3 in the third, but they probably should have. The coaching staff put Calnan up with the first unit and that new fivesome generated several prime opportunities for Ryan Fitzgerald in the right-side circle.
“There was a lot more energy, a lot more quickness to support each other,” Brown said. “It was sluggish in the first two periods, just didn’t have the crispness or the movement. In the third, it was really crisp. They were moving it well, a lotta shots, a lotta traffic, their goalie had to make some great saves.”
Those power play opportunities were also big for BC, and not just because it’s harder for the other team to score when it is killing off a penalty, but because they shifted the tide of the game. After getting outshot in the first two periods by 14 attempts, BC out-attempted Providence 24 to seven in the third, despite leading that whole period.
“It helped us gain some confidence,” Brown said. “In the first two periods, there wasn’t a lot going on for us. I think they built momentum off our power plays in the first two, and in the third, it gave us more life.”
Fitzgerald and top linemate Colin White were held off the board tonight, but they were on the board at one point. Their linemate, J.D. Dudek, tapped in a goal to make it 2-0 in the second period, but after a review, the officials determined that it was goalie interference by White. White did not receive a penalty, though, as is custom with goalie interference penalties, thereby making the call even more questionable.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff