Improbable comeback leads Providence to first hockey nat'l championship
BOSTON -- Providence captured its first hockey national championship, and the third all-time team title for the Friars with a third period, come-from-behind 4-3 victory against Boston University at TD Garden on Saturday night.
In the third period, Tom Parisi tied the game (11:24) while dumping the puck in the BU zone. Terrier netminder Matt O'Connor mishandled the puck and it crossed the line to tie the game 3-3.
Two minutes later, Brandon Tanev netted the biggest goal in Providence history at 13:43 with the game winner when he beat his defender and connected on a wrist shot from the slot that went high past O'Connor.
Jon Gillies earned the 60th win of his Friar career by making a career-high 49 saves.
The Friars opened the scoring in the first period as defenseman Anthony Florentino scored his third goal of the season at 9:25. Shane Luke carried the puck into the Terriers zone before getting off a shot on goal that was kept out of the net by O'Connor. However, the rebound created a scramble in front of the BU crease as Noel Acciari collected the puck and got off a shot that hit of the post and darted to Florentino at the blue line. Florentino's blast beat O'Connor to put the Friars ahead 1-0.
"You know it didn't even cross my mind," Florentino said of scoring. "We just focused on defense tonight. I saw the puck squirt out, saw an opportunity, and just tried to get it on net. Our forwards are doing such a great job crashing the net."
Later in the first period, Boston University responded to Providence's lead by netting a pair of goals. Ahti Oksanen tied the game at one when he found an opening between Gillies' skate and the goal post at 12:50 of the period. A.J. Greer recorded the assist on the Terriers' first goal of the game.
Setting an NCAA Tournament record for fastest two goals, Danny O'Regan scored just four seconds after Oksanen's goal to put the Terriers ahead 2-1 (12:54). After Jack Eichel won the faceoff at center ice, he carried the puck into the Friars zone, eventually leaving the puck for O'Regan in the slot. O'Regan's backhander at 12:54 beat Gillies to give BU the lead for the first time in the game.
In the second period, Mark Jankowski evened the game at two with his eighth goal of the season, and his third playoff goal of the season. Ross Mauermann started the play for the Friars as he sent a pass to Trevor Mingoia while the Friars were on the power play. Mingoia was positioned in the right faceoff circle when he sent a pass through the slot to Jankowski, who tapped the puck by O'Connor at 4:29 of the period.
Boston University would regain the lead before the close of the second period as Cason Hohmann scored at 11:36. After Hohmann won a faceoff for the Terriers in the Friar defensive zone, Oksanen carried the puck into the corner of the ice before reconnecting a pass to Hohmann.
The Terriers had a perfect 19-0-0 mark this season entering third period with a lead, but all that changed when the Friars had an amazing third period comeback that will be long remembered in Frozen Four.
With the Friars trailing 3-2, Providence kept the pressure on O'Conner throughout the period and eventually Tom Parisi scored the game-tying goal at 11:24. Parisi scored the equalizer after he collected a BU clear in the neutral zone and went to dump the puck high on net. O'Conner mishandled the puck as it slipped past the goal line.
Following a faceoff in Providence' offensive zone, Tanev scored coming off the right wing to beat a defender and fired off a wrist shot from the slot to the right corner. Kevin Rooney was credited with the assist when he won the faceoff and dished it to Tanev.
Gillies was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after finishing the game with a career-high 49 saves, including 21 in the second period -- a record total for saves in a period in the NCAA Championship game. Gillies joins former Friar netminder Chris Terreri '86 as Frozen Four MOP's from Providence.
O'Connor ended the game with 39 stops.
Providence went 1-for-3 on the power play while BU went 0-for-1.
The Terriers held the overall shot advantage at 52-43, however, Providence outshot BU 20-12 in the third.