Terriers, Friars Battle To 3-3 Overtime Tie In Playoff Preview



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Brian McConnell's third-period goal enabled the Terriers to come away with a 3-3 tie over the Friars.

Terrier sophomore forward Brian McConnell scored the game-tying goal at 10:04 of the third period and Terrier junior forward Mark Mullen notched the first two-goal game of his career as B.U. came from behind in a 3-3 overtime tie against Providence College in Hockey East action on Saturday night (February 22nd).

The tie brought the Terriers' overall record to 20-11-3 overall and 12-9-1 in league action. In the meantime, the Friars, who beat the Terriers 5-4 in overtime in the first game of the home-and-home series on Friday night, stayed undefeated in February, as they are 5-0-2 since February 1st. For the season, Providence is 18-12-3 overall and 11-9-3 in the league.

In addition, it kept the two teams tied for fourth place in the league standings as each has 25 points. It also meant that they would meet in the first round of the Hockey East quarterfinals in two weeks. The question remains who will finish fourth and have home ice and who will end up fifth and travel. The Terriers play two games next weekend at the University of Maine, while the Friars have just one game left at Providence next Friday against the UMass/Lowell. Should the Terriers and Friars end in a tie for points, the Friars would get the nod based on their 2-0-1 record against the Terriers this year.

For the second straight night, the Friars drew first blood when Torry Gajda beat Terrier goalie Sean Fields at 6:08 of the first period. The Friars' Mike Robinson won the faceoff at the right faceoff circle and Gajda picked up the loose puck and fired it past Fields, who has now lost two straight after stringing together a six-game win streak.

The Terriers evened the score on Mullen's first goal of the game, which came on the Terrier power play at 15:54 of the second period. Freddy Meyer set up the play from the right point on the Providence blue line. He got the puck down low along the right boards to Frantisek Skladany. He sent the puck over to Mullen, who was camped in the Providence slot. His shot beat Friar goalie Nolan Schaefer to the glove side.

Mark Mullen's first of two goals tied the game late in the first period.

"Fero (Skladany) made a great pass over to me," Mullen said after the game. "Brian McConnell was right in front of Schaefer and gave a great screen so the goalie never saw the shot."

Mullen then put the Terriers ahead at 5:04 of the second period with his Hockey East leading third shorthanded goal of the season. The Friars had control of the puck on the Terrier blue line and Peter Zingoni was attempting to pass the puck from the left point along to Stephen Wood, who was on the right point.

"I read the pass," said Mullen, who intercepted it and went in alone on Schaefer. "I put my shot over his glove."

Just 22 seconds later, at 5:26 of the period, the Friars tied the game when Jon DiSalvatore scored on the PC power play. Devin Rask took the initial shot from the left boards. The puck came bouncing in on Fields, but before it could get to the goalie, DiSalvatore redirected it past the Terrier goalie for his 17th goal of the season.

Before the second period was over, the Friars took the lead again on a goal that was credited to Mike Lucci. Chris Chaput took the initial shot from the right boards, and the puck came to Lucci. It went off his stick but the puck headed to the skate of Terrier forward David Klema who had come back to cover in front of Fields. The puck went off Klema's skate and past Fields to give the Friars a 3-2 lead at 10:44 of the second period.

The score remained that way until McConnell's game-tying goal at 10:04 of the final period.

Frantisek Skladany earned two assists including one on the game-tying goal.

Again, it was Skladany who made the key pass as he got the puck from Ryan Whitney. Skladany spotted McConnell in front and got the puck over to him. From the slot, McConnell shot the puck to the right of Schaefer for what proved to be the game-tying goal.

From there, the two teams went into overtime for the third time this year. In the first two, the Friars came away with the win. Back on January 9th, Providence came away with a 3-2 win, while the score on Friday night was 5-4.

"We were disappointed to come away with just one point this weekend," said Mullen. "We had wanted four points. Now, we have to look forward to going to Maine next weekend."

"I thought after the first period we played well tonight," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker. "I thought we had some good opportunities tonight, but we didn't get enough goals to beat them.

"Last night, we did not deserve to win, but tonight, I was happy with our effort," the coach went on. "Both nights, we had to come back after trailing, and I like the fact we didn't quit.

Freddy Meyer suffered a separated shoulder, and it is not certain when he will return.

"I look at the shot chart, though, and it is demoralizing," continued Parker. "We had a lot of Grade A opportunities, but we just couldn't get the puck by them. They are a tough team down low. They are a good, hard-nosed, physical defensive team, and they have two or three guys who can score. They put the fear in you, and not many teams have two or three scorers. They play conservatively, and look for opportunities."

In addition to the disappointment of coming away with just one point over the weekend, Parker got bad news that his senior captain, Freddy Meyer suffered a dislocated left shoulder in the second period. According to the coach, it is uncertain when Meyer will return to action.



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