Friars, Eagles Confuse & Confound

Posted by: Mike Machnik

It’s just a month into the season, and already we’ve seen a lot of interesting and unusual things.

Take Providence, for instance. Despite faltering down the stretch last season, the Friars certainly seemed much improved under first-year coach and fan-favorite alum Tim Army.

PC was slated to open with five straight at home this year, against Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Bowling Green, Notre Dame and Merrimack. Five quite winnable games.

You wouldn’t have blamed any Friar fan for thinking a 5-0 start was in the cards, but instead, the faithful were left confused and confounded when PC managed only one win in those five games, 4-2 over SLU. Even Merrimack, which won only three of 27 league games a year ago — including a season-ending win in Providence — tacked another loss onto the home club’s record.

Fast forward to last night, with No. 3 Boston College in town — fresh off an impressive sweep of defending NCAA champion Wisconsin. But a 2-0 Eagle lead after one didn’t hold up. PC outshot BC, 33-19, over the last two periods (42-29 on the night), buried four of the next five goals, and iced it with the empty-netter for a 5-3 win over Cory Schneider and the Eagles.

So suddenly, all is right in Providence, and it’s the Eagles who are back to shaking their heads — not for the first time this season either, with that terrific performance in Madison contrasted by confounding defeats to Notre Dame and PC.

It may be no consolation to fans of these teams, but early on this season, there seems to be more parity — if you want to call it that — than I can ever remember. We’re just a few games in and already only one non-Ivy remains undefeated (Maine, 6-0-0), with only two still seeking their first win (AIC, 0-5-0; Bemidji State, 0-3-1). There have been more upsets in a few weeks than we had in almost all of last season.

It’s going to be very interesting to see if this continues.

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