Providence captured its first-ever NCAA men’s hockey title on Saturday night in thrilling fashion, scoring twice in the final nine minutes to shock the Jack Eichel-led Boston University Terriers 4-3 at TD Garden in Boston.
Brandon Tanev, the younger brother of Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev, scored the game-winning goal at the 13:43 mark of the third, capping off a daunting comeback — heading into tonight, BU was a remarkable 19-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.
With a record like that, one would assume something significant would have to occur for the Terriers to cough up a third-period lead.
At the 11:24 mark, it did.
BU goalie Matt O’Connor gloved a harmless dump-in and tried to flip the puck to a teammate. That marked the beginning of calamity; O’Connor put a hitch in the flip and the puck came loose, hitting the ice — then the back of his leg — before crossing the goal line.
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) April 12, 2015
O’Connor appeared rattled from that point on.
In the other goal, Providence netminder Jon Gillies looked anything but. He finished with a whopping 49 saves on 52 shots, including several in the frenzied final minutes when BU pushed to even the score.
“Frenzied” was a good way to describe several portions of the title game. After Providence opened the scoring with an Anthony Florentino goal midway through the first period, the Terriers responded in rapid fashion scoring twice in a four-second span — the first by Ahti Oksanen, the second by Danny O’Reagan.
From there, the teams traded markers in the second period with another Flames draftee — Mark Jankowski — scoring for the Friars while Carson Hohmann tallied for BU.
As for Eichel, the freshman Hobey Baker winner finished the night with one assist and six shots on goal in what will likely be his last collegiate game. The 18-year-old is expected to be the No. 2 pick behind OHL Erie’s Connor McDavid at this June’s NHL Entry Draft, and will be going pro.