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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Men's Hockey 2, Boston College 2

Double knots
PC Men follow women's act through nightcap tie with BC

Report based on CSTV's Gametracker service

Somehow or other, Boston College's clear-cut bane and boon switched hats and jackets over their visit to Schneider Arena on Saturday night.

The Eagles entered the game ninth in the Hockey East penalty kill column at a cringe-worthy 80.2% success rate. Yet the Friars -tops in special teams net and second-best on the man-up offensive- would only convert one of six opportunities, going completely shotless on three of those.

But most importantly, that conversion -courtesy a lately arid Nick Mazzolini a 1:35 of the second period- was the last lamp to speak in an eventual 2-2 tie. In the subsequent 43:25 of play, it was largely PC's PK and goaltender Tyler Sims (game total 29 saves) answering the call to salvage another precious point.

BC happened to be the only power play strike force with a more sparkling 2007-08 resume than the Friars. And after they were allotted two opportunities and one shot in the first forty minutes, PC blood started seeping late in the third. First, Mazzolini endured a boarding sentence at 10:55, though the Eagles were confined to two whacks.

For Sims, that was merely a tuneup. The salvo of the night came along after bouncer Trevor Ludwig was flagged for cross-checking. The Eagles unleashed five shots over the next two minutes, yet Sims swallowed them all, authorized no rebounds, and salted his porch by summoning a whistle for every stab.

Compared to the climax, times were much more spa-like for Sims in the dawning minutes of Saturday's contest. The Friars kept the Eagle power play muted on its first go-around after Joe Lavin went off for hooking at 3:23. Over the first nine minutes, both teams kept one another's shot load to a digestible five apiece.

But at 9:07, PC found their way behind netminder John Muse (34 saves) to draw first blood. First line forwards Greg Collins and Kyle MacKinnon -partnered with playmaking missionary Jon Rheault- set up Mark Fayne to drill in just his second tally of the season from the point.

The Eagles similarly made use of short-and-sweet drop-ins to twice beat Sims in a matter of 2:21. Benn Ferriero kindled the equalizer at 13:27 before Ben Smith snatched the remains of a vain Ian O'Connor stab at Muse and eventually handed it off to hot hand Nathan Gerbe. Gerbe's would grant BC its first and only lead of this season series at 15:48.

Both clubs tuned up their ammo in the second period, with PC ultimately charging up a 15-13 edge, with possession times ranging everywhere between volleyball and football-like intervals.

Only 10 seconds in, though, did BC's Nathan gerbe yield a slashing minor for the first of four Friar power plays on the period. While the Friars met strict borders later on, Mazzolini managed to convert a feed from Rheault for the period's only goal and the later-cemented 2-2 knot.

Moments later, Sims faced the wrath of the Maroon Machine at its finest, dealing with six unaswered lashes, including four from four different twigs in one unwhistled swarm.

The Eagles discipline continued to decay, though, as was verified by another slashing minor against Ferriero at 6:15 and a 10:37 hooking call to Adams. But they authorized only two power play shots over those stretches and threw their own quick rush at Sims during the second one.

On one continuous play following Adams' release, the puck alternated ends thrice, clocking three Friar and two Eagle shots.

Leading up to Ludwig's infraction, the Friars berry-picked most of the third period's microscopic scoring opportunities, though the Eagles -whose final seven shots were spread over two power plays- eventually pulled even at 9-all.

In the bonus round, only Rheault and a fast-acclimating Jordan Kremyr of Providence put on any registered attempts.

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