Providence College spoiled goaltender Joe Woll’s return from the World Junior Championships, the Friars taking a 4-1 win over Boston College in a Hockey East game Friday night at Conte Forum.
Woll and his BC teammates contributed to their demise with a disastrous second period, the Friars holding a 22-6 shot advantage and scoring twice in an eight-second span. Kasper Bjorkqvist scored on a power play, then Woll was caught out of the net as Brandon Duhaime converted the deciding goal.
No. 16 BC (10-9-3, 10-4 Hockey East) remained in first place and 11th-ranked Providence (15-7-1, 8-4-1) extended its winning streak to five games going into a visit to Boston University on Saturday. The Eagles played without Finnish forward Aapeli Rasanen, who sustained a knee sprain in the World Juniors and is expected to miss BC’s game Sunday against New Hampshire.
Woll last played for the Eagles on Dec. 9, then joined the US team, starting five games as the team finished third in the World Juniors in Buffalo from Dec. 26-Jan. 5.
“We let him go home to St. Louis, so he had plenty of time to rest,” BC coach Jerry York said of Woll. “I think they need it. They’re 23 nights in a hotel, they play a lot of games, and it’s high intensity.”
The Eagles’ Logan Hutsko opened the scoring, tipping a Casey Fitzgerald shot from the left point past Hayden Hawkey on a power play at 12:03.
BC slowed up in the second period. The period began with a 4-on-4 situation, the Eagles threatening as Julius Mattila fired from the right circle. PC, on a power play following a carry-over penalty, signaled a change in momentum as captain Brian Pinho then slid a shot from the right circle off the left post.
Bjorkqvist equalized at 12:29, 11 seconds into a power play, and Duhaime broke the deadlock at 12:37. Bjorkqvist converted after Woll made two point-blank saves, assists credited to Pinho and Jacob Bryson. Duhaime then finished after Woll was caught behind the net, pressured from behind by Greg Printz. Duhaime intercepted Woll’s attempted clearance along the boards and shot into an open goal.
“The play [Pinho] made to draw the penalty at the end of the first period, that gave us a little boost of confidence,” Providence coach Nate Leaman said. “First period, we didn’t get pucks on net. That’s one thing we did a lot better in the second period, and that allowed us to stay on our toes, hunt down rebounds, and get the second pucks. I thought that’s what got us going a little bit.
The Eagles rallied in the third period. They squandered a power play early, then J.D. Dudek was stopped in the crease by Hawkey. BC pulled Woll and threatened in a 6 on 5, but Pinho (19:13) and Josh Wilkins (19:57) scored into open nets in the final minute.