BOSTON -- If the second game of Sunday's Frozen Fenway doubleheader between Providence and Boston College were baseball, it would have come down to an at-bat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
High-quality chances were few and far between, but BC freshman David Cotton delivered with the game on the line, driving the winning goal home with 3:11 left in regulation en route the Eagles’ 3-1 win, their ninth in 11 Hockey East contests this season.
While it was not the most aesthetically pleasing game, the two points in the league standings count the same. And, it was certainly a unique experience.
"We had a power play late in the third, and Cotton really made a terrific play to the short side," said BC head coach Jerry York, whose team has won three of its four all-time games at Fenway. "It's such a different atmosphere and game than when you play indoors on a typical Friday or Saturday night, but because of that it makes it special. The players really enjoy coming outside and playing here.”
Sophomore J.D. Dudek spun free from his defender behind the net to set up the winning goal, opening a passing lane to Cotton who moved inside the left circle for a shot that hit the post and trickled past Providence goaltender Hayden Hawkey.
After Cotton's game-winner, senior Austin Cangelosi added an empty-netter at 18:52 of the third to equal the final two-goal cushion. BC wound up posting a 36-29 shots edge for the game.
"It was kind of a broken play. They were bringing pressure on the penalty kill," said Cotton of the winning goal, his third in BC's last five games. "It kind of just rimmed around and Joey did a good job getting out in front. The ice was kind of chippy, so I just tried to get it on net and luckily it held on there and went short side, high."
The Eagles recorded 16 of their shots on goal in the opening period, but were unable to solve Hawkey. In the end, the sophomore’s 33 saves were just three short of matching his season-high.
The Friars drew first blood four minutes into the second period as freshman Brandon Duhaime connected with classmate Josh Wilkins for his seventh goal of the season.
After wheeling behind the net, Duhaime fed the puck into the slot where Wilkins sent a quick wrister past BC freshman Joseph Woll, who was playing in his first game since helping the U.S. team to a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship.
Wilkins was the only Friar to beat Woll in the contest as the St. Louis native made 15 of his 28 stops in the second period of his eventual 11th victory this season.
"Joe was stellar in goal for us coming back from a three-week tour with the World Junior team," York said. "I think the players that played valuable minutes while they were gone helped us also, because they improved during that stretch."
BC sophomore Casey Fitzgerald also represented Team USA at World Juniors, and freshman twins Jesper and Julius Mattila played for Finland. All three made their returns to the BC lineup at Fenway, while Colin White missed his first game back with flu-like symptoms.
Michael Kim's blast from inside the blue line at the 8:22 mark knotted the score at 1-1. Right after Cangelosi won a faceoff from the right circle back, the sophomore defenseman stepped into a hard shot that beat Hawkey upstairs for his third goal of the season.
"Austin is a phenomenal center, and him being a right-handed shot it's easier for him to win it to the right side," Kim said. "That's my one-time side, and he just told me to be ready for it."
The scoreboard and shot count reflected a rather even game through 40 minutes, but there was one deciding factor in the third period for the Friars.
BC scored the winning goal it needed on one of two shots over three power-play attempts, and that's the ballgame.
"There weren't going to be a lot of scoring chances because of the ice, mostly," Providence head coach Nate Leaman said. "What opens the door for that? Power plays. We opened the door for that with a lack of discipline in the third, two of our captains (Jake Walman and Brian Pinho)."