The Terrier hockey team was both lucky and good on Friday night (March 8th) as it skated to a 3-2 come-from-behind win in the first game of its best-of-three quarterfinal series against Providence College in the Hockey East tournament at Walter Brown Arena.
The two teams will play again on Saturday night at Brown Arena. Should a third game be necessary, it will be played on Sunday night, also at Brown Arena. The winner of the series will advance to next weekend's Hockey East finals at the FleetCenter.
For the Terriers, who improved their overall record to 24-8-3, the luck came in the form of their third-period goals by freshman David Klema (Roseau, MN) and sophomore Mark Mullen (Dorchester).
The good was how they played while killing penalties. After giving up six power play goals on 17 chances in last weekend's series against Maine, the Terrier penalty killing unit, which had been ranked seventh in the nation a week ago, shut the door against the Friars. Providence finished the game 0-for-6.
"Killing penalties was the best thing we did technically tonight," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker, who improved his overall coaching record to 654-323-64.
The "good" might have been lost, though, had it not been for the "luck."
With the Terriers trailing 2-1 entering the final period, Klema had luck shining on him when he scored his fourth goal of the season and first in 23 games at 10:38 of the third period. Freshman Ryan Whitney (Scituate), who took a pass from senior Chris Dyment (Reading), fired the puck from the left point. The puck, which was headed for the glass behind the Providence goal, actually came off the metal that keeps the glass in place. As Friar goalie Nolan Schaefer went behind the net to retrieve the puck, it came back out in the slot in front of the Providence goal. As Schaefer tried to get back into position, he slipped a bit, leaving the puck alone in the slot for Klema.
"I never saw the puck come off the boards," said Klema. "I knew that Whitney had dumped the puck in hard, and I went hard to the corner to see if I could get the puck. All of a sudden, I saw it alone in the middle of the ice and I put it in.
"It was a really lucky goal," Klema continued. "I didn't get a real good shot at, and the puck actually fluttered in the net.
"That's probably the most exciting goal I have scored this year," he said.
"That goal was the turning point of the game," said Providence coach Paul Pooley. "It was a bad break for us. The puck hit the joint, they scored the goal, and it gave them life."
"We were sitting on the bench, and when we saw the puck go in, it really gave us the momentum we needed," said Mullen.
Less than four minutes after Klema's goal, Mullen enjoyed some luck of his own as he scored his eighth goal of the year at 14:32 of the third period.
The winning play was started when junior Brian Collins (Shrewsbury) to senior Mike Pandolfo (Burlington) along the right wing boards. Pandolfo, who had skated to just inside the Providence blue line, fired a shot on goal. Schaefer, who finished the game with 37 saves, made the initial save. But, the puck bounced loose just to his left. Mullen, who was going to the net, appeared to be taken down by a Providence defenseman. But, just before he fell to the ice, he saw the puck laying in front of him.
"It was just laying there, and I chipped at it just before Schaefer got his glove on it," said Mullen. "It was really a lucky goal."
The Friars put pressure on Terrier sophomore goalie Sean Fields (Edmonton, ALTA) in the closing minutes. Providence pulled Schaefer in place of an extra skater with just nine seconds to play. With just four seconds to play, they had an excellent chance to tie the game but Fields made an excellent save, and the Terriers had their 14th come-from-behind win this year.
B.U. drew first blood in the game when freshman Justin Maiser (Edina, MN) tipped home a pretty pass from Klema at 15:41 of the first period. Dyment also earned an assist.
"We were on a three-on-two breakaway," Klema said of the play. "I slowed up to pull the defenseman to me. When he did, I was able to slide the puck to Justin."
Despite being outshot by an 11-8 margin in the first period, the Terriers took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
The second period was a turnaround as the Terriers outshot the Friars, 18-8, but Providence came away with the only goals of the period. Junior Devin Rask scored his 16th goal of the year when he knocked home the rebound of a shot by junior Jon DiSalvatore at 8:43 of the period. The Friars then took a 2-1 lead at 17:11 of the period when sophomore Stephen Wood collected the rebound of a Rask shot and beat Fields. DiSalvatore also earned an assist.
That set the stage for the Terriers' "lucky" third-period goals.
"I thought we had a good effort tonight," Pooley said. "We played hard. There were just a couple of bad breaks that went against us."
"We got a couple of fortunate breaks tonight," said Parker. "But we also had a couple of bounces that didn't go in for us. There were a couple of times when we were on the bench and raised our arms thinking we had a goal. Schaefer was unbelievable tonight. He really stoned us a couple of times. But, I thought that Fields (25 saves) was also sharp.
"This is another game when we were able to come back," concluded the coach. "This is a resilient group we have this year. We certainly don't lack poise."