UNH settles for even with Providence
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
The UNH men’s hockey team skated to a 3-3 tie against Providence on Sunday at the Whittemore Center. UNH’s record improved to 16-7-3 (11-6-2 in Hockey East, in second place with 24 points), while the Friars (10-10-6, 8-6-5) jumped to third place in a tie with Merrimack with 22 points. The two teams will play again on Wednesday night in Providence, after Friday’s game was postponed due to Blizzard Nemo.
The Friars struck first on the power play after Austin Block was called for interference. Nick Saracino, who finished the night with two goals and an assist, corralled the puck behind the net and was able to draw the UNH defense to the puck side. John Gilmour was given room in the slot where he received a pass and put it behind DeSmith.
This marked the first time all season UNH surrendered a power play goal in consecutive games. UNH dominated the first period, outshooting the Friars 17-6, but were unable to capitalize on their scoring opportunities.
Grayson Downing tied it up with his eleventh goal of the season at the 14:52 mark in the second period. Dalton Speelman brought the puck into the zone and his wrap-around attempt was blocked by netminder Jon Gillies. Downing recovered the rebound in front of the net and put it past Gillies’ glove.
“I think any time you can beat a goalie like that, it helps your team out,” Downing said. “It proves he’s not invincible…it showed that we could beat him and got our team going.”
The Wildcats drew a penalty with 43 seconds remaining in the second period and were able to capitalize on it in the third. Trevor van Riemsdyk was able to send a pass in front of the net to an open Dan Correale, who scored his second of the season underneath Gillies.
Providence drew a slashing penalty when Correale tried to break up a 3-on-2 rush four minutes into the third.
On the ensuing power play, Shane Luke threw a wrist shot on net from the slot that DeSmith saved, but Saracino was there for the rebound to tie it up.
The Friars took the lead at the 11:25 mark of the third period on another power play when Saracino unleashed a slap shot that beat DeSmith on the stick side.
Gillies made the save of the night with 6:19 remaining when Eric Knoedel ripped a slap shot that was deflected by a defender. The puck dribbled to Kevin Goumas who thought he had a goal, but Gillies’ dove toward the net and snagged the puck before it crossed the goal line.
“After the save he made on Goumas, I didn’t think we’d ever get it by [Gillies,”] UNH head coach Dick Umile said.
Scott Pavelski scored the game-tying goal with 3:26 to go off a rebound from a shot by Casey Thrush, beating Gillies on his stick side.
The Wildcats will face Providence again on Wednesday night, their first of four upcoming away games. They then play at Boston College on Saturday and finish their road trip with Vermont on February 22-23.
UNH is currently in second place with 24 points. Providence moved into a tie with Boston University for fourth place with 21 points and can jump to third with a win on Wednesday.
If UNH wins, they will overtake the Boston College Eagles and be in sole possession of first place of Hockey East.
“Whoever wins on Wednesday night and gets three out of four points will be in good position [for the Hockey East tournament],” Umile said.