BOSTON – Senior John Curry picked up his first shutout of the season and sophomore Chris Higgins provided the game winner, as the ninth-ranked Boston University men’s ice hockey team got back in the win column with a 1-0 home victory against Providence on Friday evening at Agganis Arena.
Curry made 22 saves, including 10 in the second period, and Higgins sent home a rebound in the early stages of the third period to end the Terriers’ five-game winless streak and help them improve to 3-2-4 on the year and 3-2-3 in Hockey East play. The Friars dropped to 3-8-1 overall with a 2-5-1 conference mark.
After getting through a second period in which Providence outshot BU by a 10-3 margin, the Terriers used the momentum from an early third-period power play to record the game’s lone goal.
Seconds after play returned to even strength following a penalty to Providence’s Colin MacDonald, BU captain Sean Sullivan set up a shot from the point by fellow senior Kenny Roche. Following an initial save by Providence goaltender Tyler Sims, the rebound went right to Higgins, who sent the puck home from just outside the left side of the crease at the 3:19 mark.
The BU defense, backstopped by Curry, limited Providence to just five shots in the third and held on for its first 1-0 victory in conference play since Jan. 24, 2004, against Maine at Walter Brown Arena.
The Terriers, who recorded a goal in the second minute of their contest at Vermont on Tuesday, nearly cooked up an early tally once again, but a hard blast by junior Pete MacArthur from outside the left circle ricocheted off the left pipe at the 1:24 mark.
After fighting off its first penalty of the night, BU drew a pair of penalties within 40 seconds of each other to enjoy a 5-on-3 advantage. However, the home squad was not able to capitalize on that opportunity or on another power play later in the period.
BU generated its best scoring chance of the opening period with the teams at even strength. Sophomore Jason Lawrence collected a rebound on the edge of the right circle and sent the puck towards the net, only to have it bounce off the right pipe.
The Friars recorded the only shot on goal in the first seven minutes of the second period and added nine more, including four on a pair of power plays, before allowing the Terriers their first shot of the stanza.
BU earned its first power-play chance of the second period at the 13:43 mark, but ended up giving the Friars a great shorthanded scoring chance. A pass break-up led to a breakaway for Tony Zancanaro, twin brother of former BU co-captain Brad Zancanaro, but Curry stuffed the shot to keep the game scoreless.
The Terriers got their power-play unit on the ice early in the third period, drawing a holding the stick call in their own zone at the 1:07 mark. BU worked the puck well and despite coming up short on the man-advantage, it would tally the game winner just moments after the penalty expired.
The visitors nearly recorded a quick equalizer, but Bryan Horan’s effort from the inner edge of the right circle popped up off Curry’s glove before the goaltender corralled the puck.
A great opportunity to grab a two-goal lead was presented to the Terriers when Zancanaro was whistled for a major boarding penalty at the 5:01 mark of the third. Two minutes into the major, MacDonald joined Zancanaro in the box to allow for a two-man advantage. The Terriers were able to generate several good looks, but settled for the 1-0 lead.
Providence had the final power-play chance of the night following a penalty to Eric Gryba with 9:35 left in regulation, but the Terriers were up to task and kept the visitors off the board.
For the game, the Friars held a 22-20 advantage in shots. Sims made 19 saves in the losing effort.
BU will return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 21, when it welcomes cross-town rival Harvard to Agganis Arena for a 7:30 p.m. contest.