The Providence College men’s ice hockey team has had a tumultuous season so far. After a strong start to the season that saw them in the USCHO top-20 and several victories over other top teams, the Friars finished off their regular season with a whimper. From Jan. 14 through Feb. 3, the Friars lost five straight games, knocking them outside the top-20 and potentially costing themselves a shot at the NCAA playoffs. The Friars hadn’t made the National Tournament since the 2018-2019 season, a three year stretch that marks the longest drought in the tenure of head coach Nate Leaman. The Friars may have had a redemptive shot with their final four games coming against ranked opponents University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Boston University, however they went just 1–3 in those games.
The chances of the Friars making the tournament were slim. It was becoming virtually impossible for them to claim an at-large bid at this point. The NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament only fields 16 teams, including the conference winners. In order to get a ticket to the playoffs, the Friars would need to upset and win the Hockey East tournament. This would be no easy feat, as Hockey East is one of, if not the, premier college hockey conferences in the country. And yet, after back-to-back overtime wins, the Friars enter a semifinals match against BU on Friday, March 17 at TD Garden in Boston. This puts them just two wins away from a Hockey East championship and an NCAA tournament bid. While many players contributed to their last win, the overtime game-winning goal scorer Brady Berard ’26 was the hero.
Berard is the brother and teammate of New York Rangers prospect Brett Berard ’24 and has seen solid playing time in his freshman campaign at Providence. PC has been a family affair for the Berards, with their father, David Berard, also working for the Friars hockey program. But make no mistake, both Brett and Brady are good on the ice.
While Brett has established himself as a star in Friartown, Brady has come in to write his own legacy in his freshman campaign. He has seen decent ice time as a freshman, albeit with a small role. He started his season solidly, with two assists in his first five games, but since had failed to tally a point. Brady would go the remainder of the season without a goal or assist. That is, until last Saturday. When the Friars faced Northeastern University in the Hockey East tournament quarterfinals, the game was a must win for the Friars. They fell in a 1–0 hole early, but tied the game in the second period and remained in gridlock through the third–until four minutes into the overtime period. College hockey overtime periods are just five minutes long before then going to shootouts. While goaltender Philip Svedebäck ’26 has been outstanding this season, shootouts are very tricky and a dangerous bet when your season is on the line. Berard alleviated that fear when he re-directed a puck that was sent off the end board by Guillaume Richard ’25. Berard’s first collegiate goal also netted him Pro Ambitions Hockey East Rookie of the Week on March 13.