For the first time since March of 2004, the Providence College men's hockey team went into New Hampshire's Whittemore Center and came away with a win, downing the third-ranked Wildcats, 6-5, on Saturday night.
Six Friars scored at least two points in the game, including two goals from junior Derek Army (North Kingstown, R.I.) and three assists by junior Steven Shamanski (Carberry, Manitoba), and senior Kyle Murphy (Fairhaven, N.J.) netted what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 3:47 of the third period.
The Friars jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period and went on to snap a 17-game winless streak versus the Wildcats. Freshman goalie Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) made 37 saves in the Providence (10-9-3, 8-5-2 HEA) net, while Casey DeSmith and Jeff Wyer combined to make 21 stops for New Hampshire (14-5-2, 9-4-1 HEA).
The Friars took a 1-0 lead at 5:34 of the first when sophomore Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) netted his third goal of the season with an assist from classmate Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.). Mauermann, who now has eight points (3-5-8) in Providence's last seven games, caused a turnover at the UNH blue line and moved the puck to Luke, who let a wrist shot fly from out wide that beat DeSmith high. The Friars ended the period with a second penalty kill of the opening stanza, keyed by Gillies shutting down Dalton Speelman with a right pad save on a shot from the low slot.
The Friars scored four of the second period's six goals and jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 49 seconds into the frame. Freshman Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) hit Luke with a pass in the neutral zone and Luke skated the puck all the way around the UNH goal and found freshman Brandon Tanev (Toronto, Ontario) open in the slot, who capitalized on the chance for his third goal of the year. Saracino then gave the Friars a 3-0 at the 3:25 mark when he cut in from the far boards, found space in front and deked DeSmith to finish high to the short side. Mauermann and senior Myles Harvey (Orlando, Fla.) assisted on the goal, marking Harvey's team-leading 11th assist of the season. Providence made it 4-0 at 8:29 when Army netted a power-play goal following puck movement from Friar point men Shamanski and freshman John Gilmour (Montreal, Quebec), which came against the nation's top penalty kill unit (UNH entered the night with a 94% penalty kill rate). With assists from Kevin Goumas and Justin Agosta, New Hampshire's John Henrion made it 4-1 at 10:52. But just over a minute later Army netted his second of the period and tenth of the year at 12:01 to give PC a 5-1 lead. Freshman Tom Parisi (Commack, N.Y.) and Shamanski assisted on the play. New Hampshire made it 5-2 at 17:03 of the second when Goumas netted his 10th of the year while UNH was on the power play.
The Wildcats then made it 5-3 at 2:53 of the third on Speelman's fifth of the year. Less than a minute later Murphy answered for the Friars, scoring what proved to be the game winner at 3:47. Tanev gained the blue line, found a streaking Shamanski, who fired a shot on net that was saved but Murphy was there to knock home the rebound that made it 6-3. Casey Thrush cut the Friar lead to 6-4 at 14:04 of the third and then Goumas netted his second of the game with 13 seconds to play while UNH had the extra attacker on, but the six Friar goals proved too much to overcome.
Providence continues Hockey East play next weekend with a home-and-home series versus ninth-ranked Boston University. The series opens at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25 at Schneider Arena. Saturday's game, also slated to begin at 7:00 p.m., will be televised live on NESN. With Saturday night's (Jan. 19) results around the league, the Terriers and Friars will enter the series tied for third in the Hockey East standings.