Underdog Receives First National Title: Providence Friars

April 14, 2015

By Ellen Chlumecky

The Providence Friars 2014-2015 hockey team was the key definition of “the underdogs.” The Friars were the 15th seed going into the 2015 NCAA men’s hockey national tournament. The Providence Friars squeezed into the NCAA Tournament by the skin of their teeth. The last time the Friars had even made an appearance at the NCAA Frozen Four was in 1985, which was thirty years ago. Now the Providence Friars can finally claim the national title as their own.

While I would never try to rob the Friars of what they earned and the hard work they committed to in each game, they owe a great deal of their fortune to Boston University’s goalie’s unbelievably fluky goal. This is what gave Providence the chance to come back. The game had 8:36 left in regulation when Providence junior defenseman Tom Parisi lofted a high dump in from center ice that headed towards Boston University’s junior goaltender Matt O’Connor. O’Connor followed the puck and it struck the heel of his catching glove. It seemed like he had made a routine save. However, his glove dropped toward the ice and so did the puck, which rolled between his legs. While O’Connor tried to grab it, he knocked the puck into his own net which turned a 3-2 Terriers’ lead into a 3-3 tie.

The Friars scored another goal within a 2:19 span in the third period to tie and eventually secure a 4 to 3 win over Boston University at TD Garden. Providence College’s head coach Nate Leaman said, “I thought it’s kind of a little bit like our season: we started a little bit slow, but we got better and better. And we played a pretty good third period and obviously got a big bounce that I think got our bench alive a little bit.” Providence came in as underdogs and showed everyone they were worthy of the national title by humiliating every team that had held the title years before.

Boston University’s storybook ending was quickly denied in those last few minutes of regulation. This would have been Boston University’s sixth national championship. While I’m sure Providence upset a massive amount of hockey fans’ brackets, they raised the hopes of Providence students and fans. Providence earned their way to the Frozen Four with a wild 7 to 5 win over Miami, a 4 to 1 win over Denver, then massacred Nebraska-Omaha in a 4 to 1 in the semifinal. Providence has become the third-straight first time champion in the NCAA Frozen Four.

 

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