The 20th-ranked University of New Hampshire Wildcats defeated the third-ranked Providence College men's hockey team in overtime on Friday night at Schneider Arena by the score of 3-2. Trailing by two goals entering the third period, Providence came back to tie the game and force overtime but Matt Willows' goal scored just 15 seconds into the extra stanza handed the Friars their first home loss of the season.
The Wildcats held a 2-0 lead over the Friars heading into the third period, a product of first period goals by Nick Sorkin and Grayson Downing. Red-shirt sophomore Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) cut the Wildcats' lead in half as he got the Friars on the scoresheet at 6:28 of the third period. Sophomore Mark Jankowski (Dundas, Ontario) evened the game at 2-2 for Providence (9-2-1, 5-2-0 HEA) with his seventh goal of the season at 14:12 to eventually force the extra time.
New Hampshire (7-5-1, 5-2-0 HEA) goaltender Casey DeSmith made 29 saves in the win, while sophomore Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) and freshman Nick Ellis (Millersville, M.D.) combined for 26 saves in the overtime loss.
After the first twenty minutes of action, Providence trailed the Wildcats, 2-0. Kevin Goumas won an offensive zone face-off for UNH and got the puck to Willows, who fired a shot from the top of the circle that was tipped past Gillies by Nick Sorkin for a 1-0 UNH lead. Grayson Downing doubled the lead for the Wildcats with only 21 seconds left to play in the opening frame. Dan Correale sprung Downing with a pass through the neutral zone that allowed him to skate in alone on Gillies.
Following a scoreless middle period, the Friars entered the final period of play with a two-goal deficit. Acciari scored his fourth goal of the season at 6:28 to cut the deficit in half. Sophomore John Gilmour (Montreal, Quebec) connected a pass to classmate Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.), who was behind the Wildcat goal. Saracino sent a pass from behind the net to Acciari who was stationed right outside of the UNH goal crease. Acciari fired off a quick shot that went through the legs of DeSmith.
Jankowksi tied the game with 6:48 left to play in regulation time. Work behind the net by sophomores Steven McParland (Schreiber, Ontario) and Brandon Tanev (Toronto, Ontario) left Jankowski open between the circles to get the shot off. McParland sent a pass from the boards to Jankowski, who sent a shot way high over DeSmith.
Only 15 seconds into the extra session of play, Willows sealed the win for the Wildcats with his second goal of the game. After the puck deflected off of the glass, Nick Sorkin collected the rebound and got the puck to Willows, whose shot eluded Ellis.
Despite getting outshot 16-5 by UNH through the first period of play, the Friars finished the game outshooting the Wildcats 31-29. Neither team could take advantage of any power play opportunities as PC went 0-for-3 and UNH went 0-for-4 with the man advantage. Gillies played the first two periods for the Friars and made 22 saves, while Ellis made four stops in the third.
The weekend series against New Hampshire will conclude with the second of back-to-back games at Schneider Arena tomorrow, Nov. 23 at 7:00 p.m.
Nick Saracino has recorded 11 points (7-4-11) in 7 GP against the Wildcats ... Mark Jankowksi tied his previous season high in goals with his seventh ... Saracino has a three-game point streak (1g, 2a) ... Brandon Tanev tallied his first assist of the season on Jankowski's goal ... Steven McParland has five assists over the last five games.