DETROIT, Mich. - The Providence College men's hockey team rallied from a 2-1 deficit and scored four times in the third period en route to a 5-3 win over defending national champion and fifth-ranked Michigan State Saturday afternoon in the third-place game of the 43rd Annual Great Lakes Invitational played at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.
The Friars, who were making their first ever appearance in the Great Lakes Invitational, improved to 7-7-2, while the Spartans fell to 12-5-2.
Trailing 2-1 at the 1:11 mark of the third period, the Friars, scored three unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead. Sophomore John Cavanagh (Warwick, R.I.) scored at 7:49, while senior Jon Rheault (Deering, N.H.) gave the Friars the lead for good at 9:41 with his second goal of the night and his team-leading 10th of the season. The Friars increased their lead to 4-2 as junior Pierce Norton (South Boston, Mass.) and MacKinnon executed a perfect two-on-one break and MacKinnon was able to lift a shot past Lerg at 15:54. After the Spartans cut the lead to 4-3 with 51 seconds remaining, MacKinnon added an empty netter to seal the win for the Friars.
In an evenly played first period, the Spartans struck first at 19:50 when Dustin Gazley collected a rebound off the boards behind net and lifted a back hander into the net from in close. The Friars tied the game (1-1) at the 13:18 mark of the second period. The Spartans had a two-on-one break, however, PC junior defenseman Cody Wild (North Providence, R.I.) was able to break up the play and sent freshman Kyle MacKinnon (Walnut, Calif.) and senior Jon Rheault (Deering, N.H.) on a two-on-one rush the other way. MacKinnon snapped a shot from the left circle that glanced off the stick of MSU goalie Jeff Lerg and then the cross bar. However, Rheault was right in front and tapped the rebound into the open net. It marked Rheault's team leading ninth goal of the season. The Spartans regained the lead at 1:11 of the third period when Nick Sucharski was able to redirect a shot past PC junior goalie Tyler Sims (Fort Wayne, Ind.).
Sims finished with 27 saves, while Lerg made 40 stops. The Friars finished the game with a 45-30 shot advantage. For Rheault, it marked his 10th career two-goal game, while MacKinnon has scored twice in two of the last four games.
The Friars are back in action of Friday, January 11 when they host UMass Lowell in a Hockey East contest at Schneider Arena.