Durham, NH - UNH came out flying in the early going, running out to a 17-6 shot on goal advantage in the first period. But it was Providence College that took a 1-0 lead into the intermission on a power-play goal by John Gilmour at 13 minutes, 27 seconds of the period. UNH would score at 14:52 of the second period to send the game to the third period knotted at one. UNH wasted no time in the third period taking an early 2-1 lead on a goal by Dan Correale at 30 seconds of the period, but PC would respond 5 minutes later on the power-play to tie the game at two, again.
Providence would take advantage of a power-play midway through the third to take a 3-2 lead. That goal was scored by freshman Nick Saracino and was his second of the game. Scott Pavelski would score a late tying goal as UNH and Providence would hold on for the three all tie. The tie puts UNH one point behind Boston College for first in the Hockey East standings, while it puts PC in a tie with Boston University for the final home playoff spot. The tie did little to move UNH in the Pairwise rankings, as they still sit in fifth place.
What I Saw
- UNH controlled play throughout the first 20 minutes of play, but much like last week against Merrimack College they were unable to get traffic in front of the goaltender.This meant that they again fell behind in the game. This has become much more common in recent weeks for a UNH team that had just two losses in the first half.
- Both teams locked into a defensive battle early in the game. Both teams had opportunities, but few took advantage. Casey Desmith and Jon Gillies both played well. The latter played that much better in the early going and PC was able to take the early lead on UNH. This has been the MO for this PC team in recent weeks, but they still struggle to hold on to leads in the third period. This was the case again tonight as UNH scored 3:26 left to go in the game to tie it.
- Providence’s power-play made a really good UNH power-play look silly at times. On the first two power-plays, Providence was able to find the open man and get it past Jon Gillies. UNH entered the night giving up only six goals on the penalty-kill and left giving up in two in one game. It was the first time all year, UNH had allowed two power-play goals to their opponent.
What I Thought
- As good as UNH was in the first half finding the puck in opportune situations, these situations are just not happening in recent weeks. One could say its the second swoon that’s hitting them hard, but in the end I am believer of making luck. This has not been happening since the beginning of the second half, starting with a loss against Dartmouth, and this has been the main difference in results for the Wildcats. Also getting a big goal has largely alluded this team in recent weeks.
- UNH’s Matt Willows took an ill-advised hooking call with 1:30 left to go in the game, which could have cost his team the victory. The Wildcats were 0-2 on the PK in the game and it just seemed as this was going to be the way that UNH would again lose a game. The PK, which entered the game first in the nation, held strong though and they would kill the PC power-play. Neither team would get a game-winner in the extra five minutes.
- PC struggles down the stretch, as they are a young team. Again Providence held a late third period, and again they struggled to get the two points, settling for a tie. getting early leads should bode well going forward but they must hold those leads if they are to be considered a contender. In the last two weeks, Providence has lost two points in games they held late leads. Those points could come back to bite them come the end of the year.
What They Said
Providence coach Nate Leaman said,
“I thought it was a good game and we came out a bit slow. I thought we were a bit tight to start the game but we got better as the game went on. (Jonny) kept us in it in the first period and we had some good play but we were making a lot of soft plays and not getting pucks to the net.”
“Our specialty teams came through for us. This was one of the first times this year it has. To get a couple on the road on the power-play was huge for us.”
UNH coach Dick Umile said,
“It was a hard fought game. It went back and forth. We had a lead and gave it up and all of a sudden we are behind. After the save that Gillies made on Kevin Goumas, I thought we would never get it by him, but we did.
UNH forward Scott Pavelski said,
“It felt as though every shift we were getting a shot, and that was one of our goals coming into the game. We felt like we were rolling, playing well and just wanted throw something at Gillies feet to get it in. This was one of those games you just have to keep pressing, and not get frustrated.”
What Else You Should Know
These same two teams will play on Wednesday night at Schneider Arena in Providence, Rhode Island. PC can win the season series against UNH for the first time since 1995-1996 with a win over a tie at home. PC won an earlier meeting here at the Whittemore Center, 6-5.