Top line helps Boston College blow by Providence

Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and two assists Friday night as the Eagles skated to a 5-2 win over Providence. - Matt Dewkett (mrd-photos.com)

Providence has hit a rough patch, winless in its last four outings.

Chestnut Hill, Mass. -- There isn't much that hasn't been said about Johnny Gaudreau. Just when you think you've seen all he has to offer, the Calgary Flames prospect puts on another epic performance.

Such was the case Friday night as Gaudreau had two goals and two assists to lead Boston College past Providence, 5-2, at Conte Forum. Line mates Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes also had goals.

"He's had an unbelievable career here, but he's at the very top of his game. He's improved every year. His freshman year was remarkable and he just got better sophomore year. Now this is the best I've seen him play," said Jerry York.

"People last year were asking 'what else can Johnny do?' He wants to get better at every facet of his game. He's better defensively, stronger on the puck and shooting the puck better. He's really a lot of fun for us to watch," said a glowing head coach.

A key to the game was the special teams battle that BC certainly won. The Eagles scored two power play goals and another was for all intents and purposes a man advantage tally as it came two seconds after the penalty expired.

"Their power play was the difference tonight," said Providence coach Nate Leaman. "We didn't get the job done on the penalty kill. That was the difference in the game. If you're going to get it done on the road in this league you have to win the special teams battle."

The Eagles jumped on the scoreboard first just 5:29 into the game, two seconds after a penalty to Providence defenseman John Gilmour had elapsed. Michael Matheson started the play from the blue line by passing it down to Hayes in the slot. After the Providence defense converged on Hayes, he passed it over to a wide open Gaudreau who deposited the puck into the net.

Providence scored the next two goals to go on top, 2-1. Shane Luke finished off a nice centering feed from Ross Mauermann who was in back of the net at the 15:37 mark of the first period. With 6:09 to play in the second period and a Friars power play just ending, Derek Army redirected a cross-goal mouth feed from Nick Saracino to give Providence its only lead of the night.

Bill Arnold evened the score at two with a power play goal just under three minutes later on a very similar goal to Providence's go-ahead tally. Matheson had fed Gaudreau down to the side of the net who in turn centered the puck for Arnold to tip past Providence goaltender Jon Gillies.

Providence took a bench minor for too many men on the ice with 23 seconds to play in the second period. The Eagles capitalized on the opportunity 37 seconds into the third period when captain Patrick Brown tipped in a Hayes shot from the point. Matheson picked up the secondary assist, his third of the night.

"We worked on the power play a lot in practice this week. [Hayes] was just trying to get pucks through. That's what we were trying to: get a lot more shots. He found the lane and did a good job. I just got a stick on it," said Brown.

Gaudreau scored his second of the night with 2:10 to play when he barely snuck one past Gillies as the Carneys Point, NJ native was cutting in down the left side. That goal gave the Eagles some breathing room before Hayes added an empty net tally from Gaudreau and Ian McCoshen.

Boston College (14-4-2) outshot Providence (13-5-4), 31-28, on the night. The Eagles came out strong and set the tempo early in the game.

"Providence really weathered the storm early. We had some terrific chances there. Right from the hop I thought we had a little more determination in our team and more resolve. The first five to ten shifts we were cycling the puck and making good plays," said York.

"Too many men on the ice is a bad one. We didn't play with a lot of the composure we needed to. I was disappointed. That led to some of the penalties. We were passengers and on our heels too much," said a frustrated Leaman whose is now winless in its last four games.

The Eagles return to action Saturday at Brown for a nonconference game. Providence is off until next weekend when the Friars travel to Colorado College for a pair of nonconference games.

Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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