PROVIDENCE, R.I. – In a dramatic game three deciding game of the Hockey East Quarterfinals, the No. 10 Friars fell in overtime by a score of 2-1 to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats at Schneider Arena.
Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) tied the game early in the third period for Providence (22-13-2) to eventually force overtime. Then, after both teams had several good chances to score, at 12:43 of the first overtime period, Jay Camper netted the game winner for New Hampshire (19-18-2) to advance to the Hockey East Semifinals.
Providence and New Hampshire played a scoreless first period for the third night in a row. The Friars outshot the Wildcats by an 8-3 margin in the period.
By the end of the second period, the Wildcats held a 1-0 lead over the Friars. Grayson Downing netted his third goal of the series as he capitalized off a pass from Shane Eiserman to beat Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) at 7:06 of the period. Warren Foegele was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.
Saracino continued his strong play against New Hampshire as he tied the game at 1:20 of the third period. After a shot by Brandon Tanev (Toronto, Ontario) was loose near Wildcats goaltender Danny Tirone, Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) and Saracino battled for the puck in the crease before Saracino was finally able to lift the puck over the goal line to even the score at 1-1.
The overtime saw quality chances for both Providence and New Hampshire, as both teams had a power-play opportunity in the extra frame. During the Wildcats power-play, Gillies made a big kick save with his right pad on a shot from the blue line by Brett Pesce that kept the game alive. Providence’s penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 in the game.
The Friars responded with some good looks on their power-play, including a spin-around shot from Trevor Mingoia (Fairport, N.Y.) but Providence could not capitalize with the extra skater.
New Hampshire clinched the series win at 12:43 of the extra frame. Warren Foegele connected a pass to Pesce, who then fired a shot through traffic. Jay Camper redirected Pesce’s shot and the changing of direction eluded Gillies for the sudden death victory for the Wildcats.
Gillies finished the game with 26 saves in the game, including eight in the overtime period. Tirone stopped 30 shots in the UNH net. Providence finished the game with the shot advantage, 31-28.
Providence will now wait and see where it finishes in the Pairwise Comparison rankings (used to determine NCAA at-large bids) following next weekend’s games to find out if they will make it to the NCAA Tournament field (the selection show is on Sunday, March 22 at noon on ESPNU).