The Boston University men’s hockey team’s struggles continued in the home opener Friday against No. 6 Providence College as the Friars (4-1-1, 2-0 Hockey East) routed BU (0-4, 0-2 Hockey East) 5-0 at Agganis Arena.
The loss marks the first time that BU starts a season 0-4-0 since the 1998-99 season, when now-head coach Albie O’Connell captained the Terriers.
Providence opened the scoring early Friday.
Just 58 seconds into the game, Friar forward Jack Dugan shot the puck behind the Terrier’s net, which proceeded to bounce off junior goaltender and assistant captain Jake Oettinger and give the Friars a 1-0 lead. Junior forward Josh Wilkins received an assist.
“The first period, we were kind of fortunate to get a bounce on that first goal,” Providence head coach Nate Leaman said, “and to get out of that period up 1-0 was probably really good for us because I thought we were on a little bit on our heels.”
Only four of the Terriers’ 15 shots managed to stay on target as Friar goaltender Hayden Hawkey blocked all four shots he faced in the first.
BU entered the game with the worst power play in Hockey East, converting only one of its 15 chances. Similarly, the Terriers did not make use of the man advantage in the first period, going 0-3.
“If they score first, I think the team that hasn’t won yet probably [is] going to feel a little bit better about themselves if they score first,” Leaman said. “To get out of that first period up 1-0 when they had a lot of zone time and the three power plays, I think that allowed us to get in and regroup.”
The Friars did not wait long to add to their lead.
Providence forward Brandon Duhaime intercepted a pass meant for BU freshman forward Matthew Quercia and unloaded a shot from the right circle at 6:46 in the second.
Providence was not finished scoring in the middle stanza.
At 17:56 in the second period, junior forward Patrick Curry found himself in the box for slashing.
With 30.4 seconds left in the second, Wilkins found Friar defenseman Spenser Young in the left circle, who then uncorked a slap shot that landed just under the crossbar, giving his team a 3-0 lead.
Providence outshot BU 26-9 in the second period.
“Second period, they had a lot of momentum on their power play,” O’Connell said. “Second and third, it was all Providence.”
The momentum carried into the third when with just 42 seconds into the period, Friar forward and captain Kasper Björkqvist found Duhamine in between the circles and scored his second goal of the contest. Wilkins picked up his third assist of the night.
Just under four minutes later, Providence scored again: Friar forward Tyce Thompson fired a shot that Oettinger deflected but did not control. Björkqvist cleaned up the play and gave Providence a 5-0 lead 4:24 in the final period.
Oettinger came into the game having success against the Friars. In his first six starts against the Friars, the Lakeville, Minnesota, native posted a .956 save percentage and allowed two or less goals in all but one of those starts.
“Overall, it was lopsided in the second and third period,” O’Connell said, referring to how each team played. “I thought the first period we played a pretty good game.”
The Terriers were outshot 39-18 in the contest. Six of those shots came from freshmen Quercia, Joel Farabee and Jake Wise, two apiece.
Junior defenseman and assistant captain Chad Krys added to the shot count while making his season debut after missing the first two weeks of the season due to injury.
BU has not scored since sophomore forward Shane Bowers lit the lamp in the second game of the season against then-No. 11 Minnesota State University, Mankato.
“There’s definitely a frustration level,” O’Connell said. “I think as simple as it is, we need to shoot the puck more. Providence did a great job of blocking shots when we did shoot. We just need to have a shooter’s mentality. … We just got to learn that lesson with a lot of skilled players — they try to make those fancy plays instead of just realizing to shoot the puck.”