Sunday, April 12, 2015

Providence Wins First National Title

For the first time in its long history, Providence College is the national champion of NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey.

The 15th-ranked Friars defeated the favored No. 2 Boston University Terriers, 4-3, in the NCAA title game before 18,022 at TD Garden in Boston.  Brandon Tanev scored the game-winning goal with 6:17 remaining in regulation, picking up a loose puck after a faceoff win by Kevin Rooney and stepping to his left before roofing a shot over the glove of BU netminder Matt O’Connor.
Tanev’s goal came less than two minutes after Friars defenseman Kyle McKenzie flipped the puck in from center ice.  O’Connor (39 saves) gloved it, but somehow lost control, dropped the puck, and kicked it into the Terriers’ net to tie the game, 3-3. It was his second major puckhandling gaffe of the Frozen Four, and helped to end BU’s 17-0-0 season streak when taking a lead into the third period.

The Friars (26-13-2) took a 1-0 lead 9:25 into the contest after Anthony Florentino blasted the puck home from the right side after Providence had milled about the offensive zone for several moments. BU (28-8-5), though, which was seeking is first NCAA title since 2009 and sixth overall, took a 2-1 lead on goals a record four seconds apart by Ahti Oksanen and Danny O'Regan just over three minutes later.
Providence would tie the game 4:29 into the second stanza on a power-play one-timer from Mark Jankowski, the only power-play goal of the night in a game that featured only four penalties. BU regained the advantage on Mark Hohmann's rebound goal just over seven minutes later.

Former Northeastern recruit Jon Gillies made a career-high 49 saves for Providence, including 21 stops in the second period alone. He also made a diving save in the final minutes of the third session on an open Friar net as the Terriers pressed for the tying tally, and ultimately earned Most Outstanding Player accolades.
Providence, which has played regularly since 1952, had last made the national title game in 1985, when the Friars fell, 2-1, to Rensselaer at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena. Rooney’s uncle, Steve, who went on to win the Stanley Cup with Montreal a year later, was a member of that Providence squad.

The Friars became the fourth Hockey East school to win a national title, joining BU, Boston College, and Maine, and also gave Hockey East its ninth NCAA title since 1995.

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