ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Sophomore Ryan Tait notched two goals and an assist and junior Brian Pinho chipped in with three points as the Providence College men’s hockey team (6-6-3) defeated RIT, 5-1, on Friday night at the Gene Polisseni Center in Rochester, N.Y. With the win, Nate Leaman recorded his 250th career win as a head coach (112 while at Providence).
Hayden Hawkey made a career-high 36 saves for the Friars, while Tigers netminder Mike Rotolo turned away 39 shots as RIT fell to 8-8-1 this season. The loss snapped RIT’s five-game winning streak.
Providence also got two-point efforts from Josh Wilkins and Anthony Florentino who each tallied two assists on the night.
A strong opening period on the road boosted the Friars to a two-goal cushion after 20 minutes of play. Brian Pinho got things started at 6:50 with his fifth strike of the season as he finished off Josh Wilkins’ rebound at the top of the crease. Just 2:43 later with the Friar power play unit going to work, Jacob Bryson teed a shot up from point the rebounded off the end boards and banked in off the back of Rotolo to put the Friars up 2-0. Pinho and Anthony Florentino got credited with the assists on Bryson’s third of the season.
RIT generated momentum in the later stages of the period, but Hawkey was up to the task as he denied Caleb Cameron on a breakaway after a turnover at the offensive blue line. The sophomore also needed to be sharp as he smothered Danny Smith’s 2-on-1 bid down low around the Friar net. Providence outshot the host Tigers by a 17-7 margin in the opening period.
Hawkey was tested multiple times in the second period as the Tigers pressured the Friars’ zone for a majority of the period as he turned away all 22 shots he faced. The Friars got more insurance 4:48 to play in the period on the first goal of the season by sophomore Ryan Tait. Josh Wilkins notched his second assist of the night as he fed Tait at the bottom of the circles and his wrister beat Rotolo under the blocker to put Providence up 3-0. Pinho was credited with the secondary assist for his third point of the evening.
The Tigers made things interesting early in the third as Chase Norrish got the hosts on the board just 1:14 in the final period. Undaunted, the Friars held strong in the defensive zone and tacked on two more insurance goals in the latter half of the period. Tait added his second of the game after Jake Walman’s shot from the point deflected off his leg and senior Conor MacPhee added his first goal of the season to round out the scoring.
Up next, Providence and RIT will face off in game two of their series Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.