An improbable comeback led Providence to its first NCAA championship in men’s hockey, the sports moment judged the greatest in school history. The school’s website told the story of the Friars’ 4-3 victory against Boston University on April 12, 2015:
BOSTON — Providence captured its first hockey national championship, and the third all-time team title for the Friars with a third period, come-from-behind 4-3 victory against Boston University at TD Garden on Saturday night.
In the third period, Tom Parisi tied the game (11:24) while dumping the puck in the BU zone. Terriers netminder Matt O’Connor mishandled the puck and it crossed the line to tie the game 3-3.
Two minutes later, Brandon Tanev netted the biggest goal in Providence history at 13:43 with the game winner when he beat his defender and connected on a wrist shot from the slot that went high past O’Connor.
“It was amazing,” Tanev said. “I couldn’t even register what was going on. It was a heck of a draw win by Kevin Rooney. Steve McParland was able to give me some space and I was able to rip that puck and it went in. It’s something I dreamed of ever since I wanted to play college hockey. The words can’t describe how I feel right now.”
Jon Gillies earned the 60th win of his Friar career by making a career-high 49 saves.
The Friars opened the scoring in the first period as defenseman Anthony Florentino scored his third goal of the season at 9:25.
“You know it didn’t even cross my mind,” Florentino said. “We just focused on defense tonight. I saw the puck squirt out, saw an opportunity, and just tried to get it on net. Our forwards are doing such a great job crashing the net.”
Later in the first period, Boston University responded to Providence’s lead by netting a pair of goals. Ahti Oksanen tied the game at one when he found an opening between Gillies’ skate and the goal post at 12:50 of the period. A.J. Greer recorded the assist on the Terriers’ first goal of the game.
Setting an NCAA Tournament record for fastest two goals, Danny O’Regan scored just four seconds after Oksanen’s goal. He put the Terriers ahead 2-1 with a backhander at 12:54 to give BU the lead for the first time in the game.
In the second period, Mark Jankowski evened the game with his eighth goal of the season, and his third playoff goal of the season.
Boston University regained the lead as Cason Hohmann scored at 11:36.
The Terriers had a perfect 19-0-0 mark this season entering the third period with a lead, but all that changed when the Friars had an amazing third period comeback that will be long remembered in Frozen Four history.
With the Friars trailing 3-2, Providence kept the pressure on O’Connor throughout the period and eventually Tom Parisi scored the game-tying goal at 11:24. Parisi scored the equalizer after he collected a BU clear in the neutral zone and went to dump the puck high on net. O’Connor mishandled the puck as it slipped past the goal line.
Following a faceoff in Providence’ offensive zone, Tanev scored coming off the right wing to beat a defender and fired off a wrist shot from the slot to the right corner. Kevin Rooney was credited with the assist when he won the faceoff and dished it to Tanev.
Gillies was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after finishing the game with a career-high 49 saves, including 21 in the second period — a record total for saves in a period in the NCAA championship game. Gillies joins former Friars netminder Chris Terreri (1986) as Frozen Four MOPs.
On the cover and above: Providence celebrates its 2015 NCAA championship. (Courtesy Providence College Archives)
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
• Monday: Northern Michigan and North Texas
• Tuesday: Northwestern State and Oakland
• Wednesday: Ohio and Old Dominion
• Thursday: Penn and Presbyterian
• Friday: Princeton and Providence