BU Falls to Providence in National Title Game
By Ethan Leavitt
BU News Service
As Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor let in his second self-created goal in as many games, you could sense the momentum swing toward Providence College’s way.
The Boston University men’s hockey team allowed two late third period goals as the lost a heartbreaker to Providence College in the national championship game at the TD Garden.
The Terriers, who had been 19-0 when leading after two periods, gave up two goals in the span of 2:19 after going into the final stanza with a 3-2 lead.
Senior Cason Hohmann and juniors Ahti Oksanen and Danny O’Regan scored the Terrier goals. Oksanen additionally assisted on Hohmann’s goal for a two-point night. Freshman Jack Eichel, who received the 2015 Hobey Baker Award Friday, collected his 71st point of the season with an assist on O’Regan’s goal. O’Connor made 39 saves for the Terriers.
Providence scored first with 10:35 to play in the first period. After a PC shot hit the post in the midst of a scramble at the crease, Anthony Florentino’s rocket from the left point beat O’Connor as the junior net-minder tried to get back in position.
Less than five minutes later, the Terriers took advantage of a fortunate bounce. Hohmann screened goaltender Jon Gilles and Oksanen took advantage, sending a bad-angle shot from the hash mark past the net-minder for his 25th goal of the year.
Immediately after Oksanen’s goal, Eichel won the ensuing center-ice faceoff and rushed forward into the Providence zone. He found a streaking O’Regan, who got off a backhander as he was knocked down and fired it home his 23rd goal of the season.
After Providence tied the game on a power play, the teams skated to a dead-heat until Hohmann broke the tie at the 11:36 mark of the second frame. He won an offensive-zone faceoff back to Oksanen, who skated around to the left circle and fired a shot on goal. Hohmann picked up the rebound, held the puck, created space for himself, and deposited his 11th goal of the season.
BU outshot Providence through the first two periods, 40-23, and appeared to have control of the play through the first 10 minutes of the third period.
However, everything changed at the 11:24 mark of the final stanza. Kyle McKenzie flipped the puck in on O’Connor from the red line. He initially gloved the puck, but he somehow dropped it, and it rolled over the goal line to even the score, 3-3.
PC had all the momentum after that. Less than three minutes later, Kevin Rooney won a faceoff to Brandon Tanev, who rifled a shot high glove-side to tally the game-winner.
Sophomore Nick Roberto nearly tied the game with just over a minute remaining, but his backhander was somehow stopped by Gilles, who dove over full-extension to his right to prevent the equalizer as the Terriers had an extra attacker on the ice.
After the final buzzer sounded, one could see BU players consoling O’Connor, who was hunched over and visibly upset. Numerous BU players, including Hohmann and senior Evan Rodrigues, were down on one knee.
Eichel, Oksanen and junior captain Matt Grzelcyk were all named to the NCAA All-Tournament team with Gillies earning the most outstanding player award for PC.