BOSTON – Senior Kenny Roche scored the game-winning goal and added an assist to help the 11th-ranked Boston University men’s ice hockey team earn a 4-2 home victory over Providence on Friday evening at Agganis Arena. With the win, the Terriers improve to 6-3-5 on the year with a 4-3-4 record in Hockey East play.
Junior Bryan Ewing and freshman Luke Popko also each tallied a goal and an assist, while junior Dan McGoff recorded the first goal of his career.
Both BU and PC scored a power-play goal in both the first and second periods. The Terriers took a pair of one-goal leads only to have the visitors tie up the score each time. With the score knotted at 2-2 with under eight minutes left in regulation, Roche knocked in a cross-crease pass from Ewing for the game winner. Popko added an insurance tally six minutes later to seal the victory.
Senior goaltender John Curry made 32 saves for the Terriers, while junior Tyler Sims made 26 saves in a losing effort. Providence fell to 4-11-1 on the year with a 3-7-1 conference mark.
BU fought off an early penalty before taking full advantage of its first power-play opportunity of the evening. Shortly after sophomore Matt Gilroy brought the puck into the PC zone, junior Pete MacArthur slid a pass to Roche, who was positioned on the outer edge of the right faceoff circle. Ewing, positioned at the far post, received a perfect pass from Roche before tipping the puck it for his second tally of the season at the 7:56 mark.
Junior Ryan Weston nearly gave the Terriers a two-goal cushion with five minutes left in the opening period, but his shot from in between the circles clanged off the right pipe.
Following an obstruction-interference call to BU freshman Bryan Strait, the visitors wiped away their early deficit in the closing seconds of the first period. Sophomore Pierce Norton sent home a rebound with 13 seconds showing on the clock on a play assisted by freshman Chris Eppich and sophomore Cody Wild.
McGoff helped BU regain the one-goal edge in the sixth minute of the second period with the first tally of his career. With time running down on the Terriers’ first man-up chance in the middle stanza, Popko won a faceoff on the left side, where freshman Brian Strait collected the puck before sending it across the top of the zone to McGoff. The junior blue-liner blasted a shot on goal that eluded Sims to make it a 2-1 affair.
Providence caused the second deadlock of the evening with 6:44 left in the second when senior Colin MacDonald redirected a pass from junior Jon Rheault just outside the crease. Sophomore Nick Mazzolini also assisted on the tally.
After being outshot 27-17 through two periods, the Terriers came out of the second intermission determined to come away with a victory and put together a strong third-period effort.
After Wild was sent to the box early on in the third in what was the only penalty of the final period, Rheault blocked a shot on the penalty kill and raced to the rebound to create a breakaway. However, with just Curry to beat, the shorthanded effort was stopped by the BU netminder with 16:30 left in regulation.
The Terriers were unable to capitalize on the power-play chance, but looked strong at even-strength for an extended period of time before mustering the game winner. Following a pass from MacArthur, Ewing slotted a pass through the slot to a wide-open Roche at the far post at the 12:03 mark.
A similar play resulted in Popko’s insurance goal, as the freshman received a pass at the far post from classmate Zach Cohen before knocking it in with 1:56 to play. Cohen’s assist was the first point of his career and senior Eric Thomassian registered his sixth assist of the season on the play.
The 4-2 result marked the first time the Terriers scored more than two goals in a game in nearly a month, as BU earned a 4-4 road draw with New Hampshire on Nov. 10.
The Terriers will take a three-week break from their schedule for finals and the holidays before returning to action at the Ledyard National Bank Tournament on Dec. 29-30 at Dartmouth College.