Both of these teams needed a win for different reasons: BU needed to solidify the beginning of its second-half push, while PC needed to prove it had anything left in its system.
PC's ultimate goal was to get on the board first, and it succeeded, getting a lucky bounce off a BU defender to score on the man advantage early in the second. The Friars tacked on two more goals in the second period, and although they allowed the Terriers to score midway through the third, they held off BU and earned a big win and a big confidence-booster going forward.
The Friars' penalty kill deserves much of the credit for this one, thwarting BU on eight power-play chances.
Scoring for the Friars were Mark Fayne (power play), Greg Collins and Daniel New (power play). BU's Ross Gaudet scored for the Terriers.
Thanks for joining us, and be sure to tune in next week, as BC and BU meet for a rematch in Chestnut Hill.
Third period, 0:32.2, PC 3-1: Mark Fayne is going into the box with half a minute left for interference.
And this really is BU's last shot.
Third period, 1:22, PC 3-1: Kieran Millan has been pulled.
Third period, 2:25, PC 3-1: Vinny Saponari is all alone in front of the goal and tries to drive it in past Alex Beaudry but there are too many PC bodies around to hold him off.
The Terriers focus on getting the puck in toward the net at the end of the power play but nothing penetrates.
The Friars' PK really deserves a huge amount of the credit for this win, rendering BU completely ineffective in seven power plays.
Third period, 4:46, PC 3-1: BU will get at least one more chance on the man advantage tonight, as Greg Collins will go to the box for slashing.
BU's formidable power play is 0-for-6 thus far.
Third period, 8:18, PC 3-1: PC's Ian O'Connor snags a turnover in the neutral zone, and in a one-on-one against Kieran Millan, he fires the puck off the far post. Missed opportunity.
The good news is, the Friars don't appear to be lagging in intensity even after they allowed the Terriers to get on the board, and there doesn't appear to be any of that late-game panic factoring in.
Third period, 11:39, PC 3-1: BU finally gets on the board, as Joe Pereira takes the puck behind the net and flips it out to Ross Gaudet, who shoots it up and over Alex Beaudry. It's Gaudet's fourth tally of the year.
Will this be enough to bring the Terriers back to life?
Third period, 12:51, PC 3-0: Nick Bonino rips one toward the net from just outside the crease and it may have been a goal — if the net wasn't off the line before the shot got off. The officials are reviewing it. Jack Parker wants the refs to call a penalty on PC for knocking the net off the line, but the refs don't budge, and they rule it no goal.
And the power play is hereby over.
In total, BU has gotten off 12 shots in six power plays.
Third period, 14:34, PC 3-0: PC's Matt Bergland is in the box, giving BU two minutes to make something big happen. The Terriers are 0-for-5 on the man advantage, and if PC can kill this one off, is it safe to say that the win is almost assured?
Third period, 18:46, PC 3-0: While we have a second, here, a couple of stats:
–The Friars have allowed 20 goals in third periods this season and have been outscored 20-14.
–A win tonight would give them just their third win in conference play.
–PC goaltender Alex Beaudry had 18 saves through the first two periods tonight and is coming off a 41-save night on Tuesday.
End of second period, PC 3-0: The Friars needed to do one thing in the third period — score. And they did three times, essentially burying the Terriers with 20 minutes left to play.
It took a lucky bounce on a power play for the Friars to get on the board, and after that, their intensity and pressure amplified visibly. They played with confidence during that frame and BU seemed to wilt with each goal.
With a comfortable three-goal lead, the Friars can go back to playing conservatively in the third period and staving off a BU team that has looked very sluggish, save for a couple of brief stretches.
Just to recap, scoring for the Friars in that frame were Mark Fayne, Greg Collins and Daniel New. Fayne's and New's lamp-lighters came on the power play.
Second period, 2:23, PC 3-0: A relatively uneventful power play — by the standards of this game. BU turns over the puck coming as Schaller comes out of the box, and he takes the feed and gets a great shot off on Kieran Millan, but Millan deflects it off his chest. That could've been the nail in the coffin for BU.
Second period, 4:42, PC 3-0: BU will get another power-play opportunity, as Tim Schaller dumps Zach Cohen right in the middle of the zone and is whistled for interference.
Second period, 6:45, PC 3-0: And to make things worse for the Terriers, they're about to go on the penalty kill — Corey Trivino's in the box.
And just like that, PC strikes again. Things are really unraveling fast for the Terriers. Daniel New's one-timer finds its way through the bodies in front of the net and once again deflects off the BU defender and into the goal.
This one really has turned fast.
Second period, 7:44, PC 2-0: Greg Collins capitalizes on that confidence, notching his second goal of the year as he forces a turnover in the neutral zone and drives all the way to the net, flipping the puck right over a visibly frustrated Kieran Millan's shoulder.
It's Collins second goal of the season in as many games.
Whatever the Friars' game plan was coming into this game, they're executing it, seemingly to perfection.
Second period, 9:19, PC 1-0: The Friars have won almost every faceoff on the penalty kill, which certainly has helped them fend off BU's attack.
There have been a lot of bodies in front of the net during this power play but very few shots. The Friars manage to kill this off — doubtlessly another huge confidence boost.
Second period, 11:08, PC 1-0: BU will get a 5-on-3 power play, as the PC defender reaches in against David Warsofsky and trips up Warsofsky's skates. The Terriers will have about a minute of 5-on-3 action.
Second period, 11:56, PC 1-0: Midway through the power play, Mark Fayne gets off another one-timer, but it doesn't have the same effect this time around.
As the final seconds wind off the power play, BU's David Warsofsky brings the puck around the net and rockets a shot off the post. Another lucky break for PC. The officials review it to make sure it hit off the post and not the inside of the net.
And now, BU gets a power-play chance, as Kyle MacKinnon heads into the box for slashing.
Second period, 13:53, PC 1-0: The Friars promptly get another power-play opportunity, as BU's Kevin Shattenkirk is in the box after a rough check into the boards.
Second period, 15:11, PC 1-0: And just like that, PC gets on the board. Friars captain Mark Fayne's shot from the point trickles right on past Kieran Millan, almost as if Millan didn't see it.
Ah, and upon further review, that's not it — the puck deflected off the BU defender (it was actually quite reminiscent of Daniel Paille's goal against the Sharks on Thursday night).
It's Fayne's fourth goal of the season and will certainly be a confidence booster for the Friars. It was exactly the lucky bounce they needed.
Second period, 16:09: PC will get its first opportunity on the man advantage, as Chris Connolly will head into the box for two minutes for hooking when we return from the break.
Second period, 16:32: BU's Colby Cohen drives in a one-timer and it's redirected by Ross Gaudet, but Beaudry gets the save. Another good chance for BU, which is coming out more aggressive in this period than it did in the first.
Second period, 19:29: Nick Bonino kicks off the second frame with a hard drive to the night, but Alex Beaudry deflects if off his pad.
End of first period: With 13 ticks left in the frame, PC fires in one more shot from the point and Kieran Millan makes another nice glove save.
Providence got a promising scoring chance three minutes into the frame, but a botched attempt at a fancy pass was all BU needed to swoop in and take the puck, effectively ending the threat.
BU had missed opportunities, too, failing to score on two power plays in the period. But as we saw last week against BC, if you give the Terriers enough power-play opportunities, they'll take advantage before long.
The good news for Friars fans is that PC is outshooting BU 10-8. The Friars' offense started heating up midway through the period, and they'll need to keep pressing the Terriers to get a win they badly need.
First period, 1:40: The Friars' Ben Farrer sends a rocket just wide left of the net. The PC offense is starting to heat up — possibly a side effect of the confidence boost from killing off those two early power plays.
First period, 4:23: BU is still controlling the pace and the puck is spending far more time in the Terriers' offensive zone than anywhere else, but PC's Greg Collins just came up with the puck and drove to the net. He got off a nice shot but Kieran Millan made an equally nice glove save.
First period, 7:56: PC kills off another one. The Terriers didn't get a good shot until about 10 seconds remained in the power play.
First period, 11:42: BU gets its first power-play opportunity.
BU gets two shots off, including a close-but-no-cigar bid by Chris Connolly from right outside the crease.
As time ticks down, BU loses the puck in the neutral zone and Providence gets a short-handed opportunity, but no dice.
And when we come back from the break, PC will go right back on the PK as Daniel New heads into the box for tripping.
First period, 13:14: The Friars are playing very conservative, it seems, as they try to hold off the potentially explosive Terriers offense. They're concentrating on clogging up the passing lanes and putting defense first. Better safe than sorry. Unless you really, really need goals.
There's always the second and third period for that.
First period, 17:38: It seems that the consensus for PC tonight is going to be, "No shot is a bad shot." The Friars need goals in a bad way, and if they can make it show in terms of aggression in the offensive zone, they'll be in good shape.
And if the BU defense shows up … well, PC better throw some mud at the wall and hope it sticks.
7:31 p.m.: Just for the record, it's been 51 days for Providence's last win, for those of you who are counting.
This game clearly means a lot to both teams. For the Friars, it's a chance to establish some sort of momentum heading into the second half, because if they can't, the postseason is a long shot. For BU, it's a chance to solidify the fact that they're ready for a powerful playoff push.
4:24: Fresh off their hard-fought defeat of Boston College on the ice at Fenway Park last Friday, the Terriers look to make it three in a row as they hit the road for Providence to take on the Friars.
After winning the national championship in 2008-09, BU has struggled throughout much of the first half of this season, spending much of the early going at the bottom of the Hockey East standings. But it appears that Jack Parker's squad is getting ready to make its second-half push, and the win over BC last Friday was a great way to make a statement.
If BU can pull out a win on the road at Providence, it will achieve its first three-game win streak of the season.
The Friars seem to be headed in the opposite direction, as they are currently mired in a six-game losing streak. PC sits alone at the very bottom of the Hockey East standings and could use a win over BU for its psyche, if nothing else.
We'll have updates all night so check back before faceoff at 7 p.m.