PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College men's hockey team used a four-goal second period outburst to defeat No. 7 Merrimack, 5-3, Saturday night in the regular-season finale at Schneider Arena. With the win, the Friars completed the season with an 8-18-8 overall record and a 4-16-7 Hockey East mark. Merrimack (22-8-4, 16-8-3 Hockey East) finished fourth and will host Maine beginning next weekend in North Andover, Mass. in a best-of-three Hockey East Quarterfinal series.
The Friars jumped out to a 1-0 lead as senior Eric Baier (North Kingstown, R.I.) ripped a shot from the blue line that eluded Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata at 5:46. Kyle Bigos scored his first goal of the season at 11:11 to tie the game at 1-1. Mike Collins and Joe Cucci each scored on a five-minute power play as the Warriors led 3-1 led after one period.
The Friars then erupted for four goals in the second period to take the lead for good. Senior Jordan Kremyr (Cloverdale, B.C.) pulled PC within 3-2 at 4:17 with his seventh goal of the season, while classmate Matt Germain (Rockland, Mass.) added a power-play goal at 8:29 to tie the game at 3-3. Junior Andy Balysky (Randolph, N.J.) then scored the eventual game winner at 14:29. Sophomore Chris Rooney (Canton, Mass.) hit a Merrimack defenseman which caused him to lose the puck. Balysky collected the puck a rifled a wrist shot past Cannata. Baier then added his career-high second goal of the night at 17:44 as the Friars led 5-3 after two periods.
The Friars outshot the Warriors, 22-5, in the second period and 35-25 for the game. Junior goalie Alex Beaudry (Cumberland, Ont.) finished with 22 saves, while Cannata and Sam Marotta combined for 30 stops.
Despite the win, the Friars missed out on a playoff spot by one point. UMass earned the eighth and final Hockey East spot as it tied Maine 4-4 in overtime.