Frozen Four Final Live: Providence Shocks BU Late To Win First National Title


Apr 11, 2015

Final, PC 4-3: And that will do it. The clock expires, and the Providence College Friars are national champions for the first time in school history.

Third period 19:00, PC 4-3: Shades of Tim Thomas. Jon Gilles makes a fantastic save to keep a last-gasp bid by BU’s Nick Roberto out of the net.

One minute to go.

Third period 14:43, PC 4-3: And just like that, Providence jumps ahead.

Brandon Tanev beats O’Connor off a faceoff in the BU zone, and the Friars now lead it 4-3.

What a finish we have here at TD Garden in what will be the final hockey game of any sort in this building until fall.

Kevin Rooney, who won the draw, assisted on the goal.

Third period 11:24, 3-3: Wow. Just … wow.

After making a save on a shot center ice, BU goalie Matt O’Connor literally drops the puck into his own net, allowing Providence to tie the game up a three goals apiece. Tom Parisi, who unleashed the initial shot, was credited with the unassisted tally.

This is the second massive mistake O’Connor’s made in this Frozen Four. If you remember, he also misplayed the puck behind his own net in the semifinals, gifting North Dakota an easy goal.

Third period 10:12, BU 3-2: We’ve reached the midway point of the third period, and the Terriers still own a one-goal advantage. Providence is making a strong push, though, outshooting BU 9-2 thus far in the frame.

Third period 6:33, BU 3-2: BU kills the Eichel penalty. We’re back to 5-on-5 with less than 14 minutes to play.

Third period 4:33, BU 3-2: PC will have a chance to even things up on the power play, as Jack Eichel is sent to the box for hooking. Judging by his reaction, the 18-year-old does not seem pleased about the call.

It’ll be the third man-advantage of the night for the Friars. They capitalized on their second, with Mark Jankowski beating Matt O’Connor to tie the game at 2-2 early in the second period.

Third period 0:01, BU 3-2: All right, here we go. Twenty minutes remain in the 2014-15 college hockey season.

BU controls the draw to begin the third.

Second intermission, BU 3-2: Jack Eichel very nearly came up with the goal of the tournament after dangling his way around Kyle McKenzie, but he was unable to shove it past Gillies.

BU now is 20 minutes from a title, and history does not look good for PC. The Terriers are 19-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.

Second period 8:51, BU 3-2: Cason Hohmann has put the Terriers back on top.

Off a faceoff win, Ahti Oksanen threw a shot on net. Gillies made the initial stop, but Providence lost track of Hohmann in front of the net, and the senior forward chipped in the rebound to give BU the lead once again.

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Second period 15:31, 2-2: The Friars remain undaunted.

After a BU penalty early in the period, Providence’s Trevor Mingoia finds Mark Jankowski in the slot, who rips a shot past O’Connor for the power play goal to even the score.

Jankowski scored the eventual game-winner for PC in the semifinals.

First intermission, BU 2-1: Well, this game sure changed in a hurry.

Ahti Oksanen first beat Gilles with a harsh-angle shot at the 12:50 mark to tie things up. The replay showed just how small a window the Finnish forward had to work with.

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The Terriers then won the ensuing faceoff, and Danny O’Regan lit the lamp just four seconds later to put BU ahead 2-1. It was the shortest time between goals in NCAA tournament history, breaking the previous record of five seconds set by Michigan way back in the 1948 national title game.

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A.J. Greer assisted on Oksanen’s tally, and Eichel was credited with the helper on O’Regan’s.

First period 9:25, PC 1-0: Providence draws first blood.

Center Noel Acciari rang the right post with a rocket from the left slot, and defenseman Anthony Florentino finished the job, gathering the puck near the blue line and firing it past O’Connor. The Friars are seriously fired up right now.

Acciari and winger Shane Luke were credited with assists on the goal.

Florentino, sophomore out of West Roxbury, is one of four Massachusetts natives on this PC squad.

First period 7:53, 0-0: The Friars come up with two clears to kill off the Parisi penalty. Back to 5-on-5.

First period 5:53, 0-0: BU will have the first power play of the night, as PC defenseman Tom Parisi is whistled for holding the stick.

First period 5:22, 0-0: We’re scoreless thus far in what has been a fast-moving first period. The Friars found two quick scoring chances in the game’s opening two minutes but were turned aside by O’Connor. Then, it was the Terriers’ turn to put some pressure on Gillies, but the PC netminder has stopped all three shots he’s faced without much difficulty.

First period 0:01, 0-0: Jack Eichel wins the opening faceoff for BU, and we are underway.

The Terriers start with their top line of Evan Rodrigues, Eichel and Danny O’Regan, with captain Matt Grzelcyk and John MacLeod on defense and Matt O’Connor in net.

Providence coach Nate Leaman, meanwhile, appears to have switched his lines up a bit. Kevin Rooney will center Brandon Tanev and Steven McParland to start in front of defensemen Kyle McKenzie and Josh Monk and goalie Jon Gillies.

7:25 p.m.: We are just about 10 minutes from puck drop here at the Garden. In the meantime, take a peek at the lines and defensive pairings each team will be trotting out tonight (click to enlarge):

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6:30 p.m. ET: A Hockey East team will be crowned king of college hockey Saturday night, as Boston University and Providence will face off at TD Garden in the 2015 NCAA Division I national championship game.

As far as history goes, the Terriers and Friars share little more than the patch they wear on their sweaters.

BU is one of the nation’s most storied programs, with 11 title game appearances and five national championships to its credit. PC, meanwhile, never has won a title. The Friars will be playing in just their second championship game and first since 1985 — which also was the last time PC had reached the Frozen Four before this season.

And although these teams share a conference affiliation, it’s actually been more than five months since they’ve faced one another on the ice. Their lone series of the season came way back on Halloween weekend, with the Terriers defeating the Friars in their own building Oct. 31 and Providence returning the favor the following night in Boston.

More recently, PC thumped Nebraska-Omaha 4-1 on Thursday in the first national semifinal, and BU followed that up by withstanding a furious North Dakota rally to win the nightcap 5-3.

Two of those five goals came courtesy of freshman Jack Eichel, who on Friday took home the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top player. Eichel, who grew up just down the road from the Garden in North Chelmsford, Mass., led the country in scoring with 70 points this season — the most by any freshman since Paul Kariya scored 100 for Maine in 1992-93.

Stopping the Terriers’ top trio of Eichel, senior Evan Rodrigues and junior Danny O’Regan — widely considered the best line in college hockey — will be the No. 1 priority for the Friars’ D corps and junior goaltender Jon Gillies, who led Hockey East in both goals against average and save percentage this season en route to earning second-team All-America honors.

Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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