After Friday’s loss to No. 4 Boston College, Providence coach Nate Leaman expressed displeasure over his team’s lack of maturity and overly emotional play.
He also was less than impressed with his players’ performance in the faceoff circle (29 for 66) and the number of times the Friars missed the net (14), particularly in crucial situations.
The 20th-ranked Friars more than made up for that on Saturday afternoon at Conte Forum, scoring four goals in a span of 3 minutes, 58 seconds of the third period on the way to a 5-1 rout of the Eagles (19-10-3, 14-9-2 Hockey East).
Providence (14-11-7, 12-7-6) vaulted into a tie for second in the conference with BC and UMass-Lowell, trailing New Hampshire by a point.
It was the Eagles’ first loss to the Friars since Feb. 29, 2008. Since then, they had gone 15-0-3.
“We had a meeting this morning and we only had a couple of bullet points, and [faceoffs] was one of them,’’ said Leaman, whose team won 40 of 76 draws on Saturday. “We did a much better job, and because of that we had the puck a lot more, including on the power play. I thought we won some good power-play faceoffs. I thought we were fragile early. We were a little tight. In the third period, once we got that second [goal], I thought the guys loosened up a little bit, and fortunately for us it went well the rest of the way.’’
It was one-goal game from 12:56 of the opening period, when freshman Noel Acciari beat Parker Milner (21 saves), to 1:42 of the third, when the Friars began the four-goal barrage.
Providence took advantage of special teams, scoring back-to-back power-play goals to make it 3-0. Freshman Nick Saracino tallied the Friars’ second goal, and Tom Parisi potted the third at 3:17. Only 17 seconds later, it was a pair of Rooneys from Canton who put the game out of reach.
Freshman Kevin Rooney fired the puck toward the net from the left circle and senior Chris Rooney bunted it past Milner at 3:34 to make it 4-0.
The Friars added a shorthanded goal at 5:40 when Acciari scored his second of the game, this time on the backhand, which prompted BC coach Jerry York to pull Milner in favor of sophomore Brad Barone (3 saves).
In all, Providence had three power-play goals and two shorthanded against BC in the two games.
BC ended the shutout with 1:20 remaining on Quinn Smith’s seventh tally of the season.
BC defenseman Patrick Wey, who was injured Friday night when he was cut in the back of the thigh by a skate, participated in warm-ups but did not play. And right wing Steven Whitney played sparingly because of a bruised thigh he suffered on Friday.
“They wore us down in the third period,’’ said York. “I thought we played very well through two periods, and a minute into the third period. It was still a 1-0 game, a very winnable game for us. I felt pretty good about it. It kind of got away from us in the third period.’’
As for Wey and Whitney, York said he didn’t know if they would be available for the final regular-season series next weekend at Vermont.
“We’re hoping for the best [for Wey],’’ said York, who described the injury as more of a puncture than a slice. “We’re hoping it heals and he can play next weekend. We’ll have to monitor it and watch for infection. [Whitney] hit the side of the net and he tried to give it a go, but it’s a contusion in his thigh and he was kind of limping around. After about two or three shifts, we said, ‘You’ve got to go in [to the dressing room].’ Injuries run in streaks but we’ve got a lot of good players and we’re not going to dwell on that. All teams go through it.‘’