BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Jon Gillies made 37 saves and third-seeded Providence beat second-seeded Quinnipiac 4-0 on Friday night in an NCAA East Region semifinal.
Mark Jankowski, Anthony Florentino, Shane Luke, and Trevor Mingoia scored for Providence (22-10-6). The Friars led 1-0 after the first, and scored three second-period goals.
That was more than enough with Gillies in net.
“It’s unbelievable when you have a goalie like Jon behind you,” Jankowski said. “If we bend a little too much, we have Jon back there to help us out.”
The Friars will play top-seeded Union on Saturday in the regional championship game. The Dutchmen beat Vermont 5-2 in the first semifinal.
The game will pit Providence coach Nate Leaman against the program he led from 2003 to 2011 and former assistant Rick Bennett, a former Friar star.
“I think once the puck is dropped, I don’t think anyone on the ice is going to think about it,” Leaman said. “It’s one game to see who advances. That’s our goal and there’s really nothing that’s going to distract me or the team, I think, from that.”
Providence is making its first tournament appearance since 2001. It last won an NCAA game during a three-game first-round series with Minnesota in 1991.
Michael Garteig made 22 saves for Quinnipiac, which finished the season 24-10-6, a year after making it to the national championship game.
“It was a different game out there then what we’ve been used to all year,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “There was a lot of obstruction and hooking and holding and we’ve got to find a way to fight through it a little bit better.”
The Friars dominated almost from the opening faceoff.
Jankowski stuffed home a rebound of a shot by Conor McPhee at 3:37 of the first period to give them a 1-0 lead.
Quinnipiac’s best opportunity came with less than a minute left in that period when Sam Anas’ wrist shot from the point rang the post on the stick side of Gillies.
But the Bobcats had very few scoring threats after that. It was the first time they had been shut out since losing to Yale 4-0 in last year’s title game.
The Friars made it 2-0 at 5:10 of the second on a shot from the left point by Florentino. The wrister went through traffic and past a screened Garteig.
Three minutes later, Luke scored on an easy rebound after a slap-shot by Kevin Hart from the right side hit the right pad of Garteig and bounced to Luke standing in front of the empty left side of the net.
After Quinnipiac’s Connor Jones was called for charging the goaltender, Mingoia slapped a rebound out of the air to make it 4-0.
Jones, who appeared to have been nudged into the goalie from behind, also received a 10 minute misconduct penalty for chirping at the referee while coming out of the penalty box.