Sometimes you tie games and you walk out of buildings and say to yourself, "hey, that was a good tie", other times you walk out shaking your head wondering what happened. Last night was one of those nights. Thanks to a goal with 10 seconds to go, the Providence College Friars rallied and tied the Eagles, sending the Champs back home in utter disappointment knowing they were just 10 seconds away from 2 crucial league points and handing their coach his record breaking win. The first period was as weird as they come because BC got badly outplayed but still managed to get out up a goal thanks to a Johnny G rebound tally. It was clear that the Eagles were thrown off guard by the physical play of the opponent, causing the team to make bad passes and decisions that they probably wouldn't have made otherwise. Want to know the biggest positive about last night ? It's the break...why is that so good ? Because Isaac Macleod left the game after period one with a shoulder injury, he was in a sling for the remainder of the night. In the third period, Steven Whitney was hit hard into the boards in the Providence end and came off the ice looking badly hurt. He made it back out there but it appeared that he was playing on one leg because of the hit. With Straight already out and these two banged up, three weeks of rest can't hurt.
I thought BC played better hockey in the second period as they controlled the tempo and generated some quality chances on PC goalie Jon Gilles. The second goal of the game was just a bomb from the point by Mike Matheson who was definitely BC best defenseman all night, even though he gave up a bad turnover on PC's first goal. As for that goal, it was the start of a trend of horrific defensive zone turnovers by the Eagles in the third period. However, after the first Friar goal, Matheson went pretty much end to end and potted his second of the night, putting BC up a pair once again. Just a mere 12 seconds after Matheson's second of the night, a BC defenseman just gave it to a Friar forward who walked in on Milner and scored. For those that were watching, this was surely one of the most disturbing goals given up all year. BC had the momentum and was playing somewhat solid hockey in the third up to that point. I don't know what happened, it was just another defensive breakdown that has become all too common this season. For the next 18 minutes I thought BC actually did a solid job of keeping the Friars away from getting grade A chances and actually created some golden opportunities of their own but Gilles, who was phenomenal in the third and OT, was there to make the save. I can't even begin to explain how bad this tying goal was. As Providence entered the BC zone with just 15 second left, a BC defenseman thought it would be a good idea to dive for the puck. He missed. Now Providence has numbers going into the zone and one of their forwards made a superb pass to Nick Saracino who had all day to fling it by Milner. Ya, we could only play 5 defenseman, ya guys were hurt, ya it was the last day before break, but in the end there are absolutely no excuses as for why that goal was given up. I actually thought Parker Milner played pretty well tonight. All three PC goals were just flat out defensive breakdowns, nothing more, nothing less.
The final 5 minute OT period was all BC but they just couldn't capitalize. Matheson made a great play to Bill Arnold who moved within 7/8 feet of Gilles for a perfect chance but he was denied. Matheson himself also had a great chance with a booming slapper late in the stanza but as was the case for most of the second half of the game, Gilles was there. All in all, this was a disappointing game for BC as they missed out on a chance to extend their lead in the league to over a game and also a chance to give their coach his record breaking win. On the positive side of things, this was a great learning experience for everybody on this team. Hopefully, they can learn from this disaster and play some great hockey vs the Chargers and the Gophers in Minnesota.
What went well-
1. I thought Mike Matheson played one of his better games of the season. As the year grows older, he may develop into the top player on this team.
2. I really liked the way Kevin Hayes and his line played last night. Call me crazy but right now, Kevin Hayes is the best player on this team along with Bill Arnold.
3. The power play had a goal and continued it's strong play. It's good to see both units start to get back to that form in which they were in earlier this year.
1. The first line was invisible, again. Mullane was solid but Johnny G and Whitney looked like their minds were somewhere else besides the game.
2. The third period. For those questioning BC's conditioning late in games, they're way off base. I don't think the Friar goals, especially the last one, were for a lack of being tired on BC's part but rather just a pure lack of execution.
3. As I mentioned earlier, thankfully the break is here. Whitney, Dyroff, and Macleod (who left the game), were all really banged up last night.
Player of the game- Mike Matheson
Next Up- Alabama Huntsville on 12/29 in Minnesota.
Go Eagles !