Terriers work OT to advance
The Providence College Friars dominated Boston University in regulation only to let their upset bid slip away in overtime.
BU freshman right wing Quinn Hutson scored the game winner at 10:52 of OT to lift the Terriers to a 2-1 victory in the opening game of the Hockey East semifinals on Friday night at the TD Garden. Left wing Luke Tuch set up Hutson for his 14th of the season.
BU goalie Drew Commesso backboned the effort with 37 saves. Providence outshot BU 33-14 in regulation but the Terriers were 10-4 better in the OT.
“It was pretty crazy and it was slow motion when I saw it go in but I wasn’t sure,” said Hutson. “Then I saw everybody celebrating.”
The No. 5 ranked and top seed Terriers (26-10-0, 19-60) advanced to the final for the 13th time and will take on the winner of the Merrimack-UMass Lowell game on Saturday night at the Garden. BU closed out the campaign and secured the top seed by winning a home and home against the Friars’ in the final series of the regular season.
“I thought Providence played very well and we didn’t shoot enough pucks and that was part of the problem,” said BU first-year head coach Jay Pandolfo, who was the Hockey East Coach of the Year.
Providence broke the scoreless deadlock at 12:25 of the third on its 31st shot of the game. Freshman Bennett Schimek won a battle along the right boards and fired a bad angle shot on the BU goal. The puck found its way between Commesso’s pads for his 11th of the season.
BU tied the game on a brilliant collaboration between defenseman Lane Hutson and junior rightwing Dylan Peterson at 17:28. Hutson made a deep rush down the left boards and slid the puck to Peterson in the slot. Peterson ripped a wrist shot that bounced past Philip Svedeback’s (23 saves) blocker for his fifth of the season.
“We our D involved there and Lane Hutson was leading the rush,” said Pandolfo. “Lane threw it into the high slot where Peterson was rushing in and he finished it.”
Providence opened the game with an elevated sense of urgency that the Terriers needed four shifts to contain. The teams played up and down for a long stretch that ended when the Terriers began over populating penalty box.
BU drew a bench minor for too many men on the ice at 14:22 and went down two skaters when Sam Stevens was lugged for hooking at 15:41. Commesso made the routine saves and BU penalty kills did the rest. Providence led 11-2 in shots on goal after one.
The Friars began adding to their shots advantage in the opening shifts of the second that included a pair of uncontested salvos from between the circles. Commesso managed several close encounters before the middle frame came to a scoreless conclusion. Providence enjoyed a lopsided 23-8 advantage in shots on goal after two.
“I thought Drew was excellent tonight,” said Pandolfo. “He made some huge saves for us at key times.”
The BU bench held its collective breath at 7:55 of third when senior defenseman Case McCarthy took a clean check from left wing Patrick Moynihan as he cut toward the Friars’ goal. McCarthy lost his blades and went hard into end boards and remained prostrate on the ice. McCarthy was taken from the ice on a stretcher.
“Obviously our first concern is for Case McCarthy,” said Pandolfo. “It is scary to see one of your players go down like that but the good news is he got up before he got on the stretcher.
“He was alert and he had movement in all his extremities. He was transported to a local hospital and he is doing very well.”
BU’s Wilmer Skoog was lugged for boarding senior defenseman Cam McDonald at 8:40 in what the Providence fans believed was a retaliatory hit. Providence coach Nate Leaman said McDonald broke his hand on the play.