PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Led by Nick Saracino’s first career hat trick, the No. 13 Providence College men’s hockey team built a 7-0 lead through two periods of play and went on to post a 10-1 win over UConn at a sold out Schneider Arena on Saturday night.
All told, 10 players turned in multi-point games for Providence (17-9-2, 9-6-1 HEA), with Ross Mauermann scoring a goal and adding two assists to hit the 100-career point mark (48-53-102) as a Friars.
The team and the Providence College Student Athlete Advisory Council (S.A.A.C.) also hosted Drew Brown Night. Drew Brown, who has missed the 2014-15 season to battle Ewing’s sarcoma, was recently announced as cancer-free and was welcomed back with a ceremony during the second intermission.
Following the first twenty minutes of play, the Friars held a 3-0 lead over the Huskies (8-13-7, 5-7-4 HEA). Mauermann began the scoring for Providence at 5:03 when he scored a wraparound goal on UConn goaltender Matt Nichols. Freshman Brian Pinho (North Andover, Mass.) and senior Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) assisted on the game’s first goal.
The Friars added two more goals in the last two minutes of the period, both while shorthanded.
Junior Steven McParland (Schreiber, Ontario) won an offensive zone face-off and drove to the net with the puck, sliding a backhand shot that beat Nichols for a 2-0 advantage. On the same penalty kill, junior Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) gained possession of the puck following a pass from senior Mark Adams (Boxford, Mass.) and skated into the offensive zone before firing a shot from the top of the face-off circle, to go ahead 3-0 at 19:17.
Junior Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) started off the Friar offense in the second period as he scored two goals in the first three minutes of play. Saracino’s first of the game came following a play in the Huskies’ zone, with junior Brandon Tanev (Toronto, Ontario) behind the net. Tanev dropped the puck off to Saracino, who went straight to the front of the net and put the puck past Nichols for a 4-0 lead. Junior Tom Parisi (Commack, N.Y.) also assisted the goal.
At 2:48, Saracino scored while the Friars were on a 5-on-3 power play. Following a long sequence of pressure by the Friars with the man advantage, Saracino fired a shot that was saved by Nichols. Saracino followed up on the play and netted his own rebound for a 5-0 lead. Junior Mark Jankowski (Dundas, Ontario) and Mauermann had the assists.
Adams then notched his first goal of the season at 7:55 of the second period with Jankowski and Mingoia each assisting. It marked Adams’ first career two-point game.
Junior Kevin Rooney’s goal at 13:39 of the middle frame made it 7-0 in the Friars favor. Junior Brooks Behling (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and McParland registered the assists.
Providence’s scoring in the period was capped off at 15:03 by freshman Brian Pinho’s (North Andover, Mass.) fourth goal of the season. Mauermann and senior Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) were credited with the helpers on the goal.
Scoring a power play goal at 1:07 of the third period, Saracino recorded his first career hat trick. He took a pass from junior Tom Parisi (Commack, N.Y.) and skated in towards UConn goaltender Tom Comunale before getting off the shot that beat Comunale on his blocker side. Acciari earned his second assist of the game on the play.
UConn forward Evan Richardson netted a goal for the Huskies to make it 9-1 at 5:59 of the third period.
Tanev’s one-timer in the slot completed the game’s scoring at 6:39 of the final period, netting his sixth goal of the season from Saracino and Acciari.
Providence’s goaltending combined for 25 saves, as all three Friar netminders made appearances. Junior Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) stopped 17 shots he faced through the first two periods. Sophomore Nick Ellis (Millersville, Md.) and sophomore Brendan Leahy (Reading, Mass.) combined to make seven saves in the third period. The appearance was Leahy’s first as a Friar.
For UConn, Nichols finished the game with 15 saves in 22:46 minutes played, while giving up five goals. Comunale tallied 18 stops in 37:12 minutes played, also giving up five goals.
The Friars finished the night perfect on the penalty kill (3-for-3), which improves their penalty-kill streak to 27 straight. Providence’s power-play connected on 2-of-6 power-play opportunities.
Next up, the Friars hit the road for a weekend Hockey East series at Notre Dame (Feb. 13-14). Both games will be televised nationally on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), with Friday’s game set for a 7:35 p.m. start and Saturday’s puck drop slated for 8:05 p.m.