PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Providence’s strong play on both the power play and the penalty kill proved to be the difference that propelled the No. 10 Friars to a 2-1 victory over the University of New Hampshire Wildcats in game two of the Hockey East Quarterfinals on Saturday night at Schneider Arena.
Defenseman John Gilmour’s (Montreal, Quebec) game-winning power-play goal scored at 3:17 of the second period held up for Providence (22-12-2) to force a deciding game three in the series. Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) stopped all but one of New Hampshire’s (18-18-2) shots to secure the win with a 35 save effort.
For the second night in a row, the teams played a scoreless first period. Providence’s penalty kill was perfect in the first period, as the Friars went 2-for-2 in stopping the New Hampshire power-play.
The Friars’ impressive special teams play continued in the second period. Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) drew an early penalty as he was interfered with driving to the net with the puck, giving the Friars their first man advantage of the game. Mark Jankowski (Dundas, Ontario) netted Providence’s first power-play goal of the period at 1:58. Gilmour was playing the point on the power-play unit when he connected a pass to Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.). Saracino eventually made his way to the goal line before setting up Jankowski in the circle. Jankowski waited with the puck before finding an open shooting lane to fire off a shot that beat Wildcat goaltender Danny Tirone on his blocker side for a 1-0 lead.
Gilmour responded with the Friars’ second power-play goal at 3:17 of the period to put Providence ahead by two goals. Providence’s power-play spent a while cycling the puck in the offensive zone as they looked to set up against the Wildcat penalty killers. Trevor Mingoia (Fairport, N.Y.) found Mauermann along the boards. Mauermann then found Gilmour open on the blue line, where the defenseman fired a one timer that made its way through traffic to beat Tirone.
Later in the period, the Friars’ penalty killers came up with an impressive five-on-three penalty kill for 1:56 to hold onto the lead over New Hampshire.
The Friars strong defensive play continued throughout the second period as Gillies made 12 saves including a stop on a shorthanded breakaway chance by Grayson Downing to stay ahead 2-0.
New Hampshire came close to cutting the Friars lead in half when a shot rang off of the crossbar with under seven minutes left in the second, but a review confirmed the no goal call on the ice.
New Hampshire would notch a goal before the end of the second period as Downing capitalized off a pass from Tyler Kelleher during a delayed penalty call. Matt Willows earned the secondary assist for the Wildcats.
The Friars would hold off the Wildcats in the third period to seal the 2-1 win. Gillies made seven saves in the period to bring his game total to 35, and the Friars penalty kill successfully killed off one last minor to go 6-for-6 in the game. Providence’s power play went 2-for-5.
Tirone finished the game with 30 saves for the Wildcats, stopping all but two of the Friars’ 32 shots in the game.
The deciding game in the series between Providence and New Hampshire will be played tomorrow, Sunday, March 15 at Schneider Arena at 7:30p.m. For tickets, click here.