Providence beats Northeastern in OT to reach Hockey East final for first time since 2001

Scott McLaughlin
March 17, 2018 - 12:38 am

If you came to TD Garden for Friday night’s Hockey East semifinals, hopefully you like comebacks and overtime. After Boston University came from behind to knock off Boston College in overtime in the first semifinal, Providence scored a tying goal late in regulation and beat Northeastern in overtime in the second semifinal, setting up a PC-BU championship game Saturday night.

After a mostly uneventful half period of overtime, the Friars won it 9:55 into the frame when Brandon Duhaime collected a loose puck in the slot and fired it past Northeastern goalie Cayden Primeau to send Providence to the Hockey East championship game for the first time since 2001. The Friars will be looking to win their first conference tournament title since 1996.

Northeastern took a 2-1 lead 3:03 into the third period when freshman Austin Goldstein buried a rebound for his first collegiate goal. Providence pushed hard for the tying goal for the remainder of the period and finally tied the game with 1:51 left in regulation when Kasper Bjorkvist collected a wide shot off the end boards and tucked it in before Primeau could get across his crease.

The Friars had opened the scoring 8:57 into the game when Vimal Sukumaran deflected in Davis Bunz’s shot from the point. The Huskies had plenty of chances to tie it in the second period with their lethal power play, which entered the night ranked second in the country, but couldn’t capitalize despite nine shots on goal on those man advantages. 

Instead, its top forwards ended up tying the game while shorthanded late in the second. Adam Gaudette, the nation’s leading scorer, led a rush into the zone, but had the puck poked away from him. Fortunately, Dylan Sikura, who’s third in the country in scoring, was there to follow up the play and fire a shot glove-side past Providence goalie Hayden Hawkey.

Northeastern and Providence were both already locked into the NCAA tournament before Friday night. The Friars' championship game opponent, BU, on the other hand, will need to win Saturday night to get in.

The last time Providence and BU met in the postseason was the 2015 national championship game, which the Friars won 4-3 right here at TD Garden.