Luke scores in OT, Friars top Bears

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Shane Luke scored a pair of goals, including the overtime game winner with 16 seconds to play, to lead the No. 13/14 Providence College men’s hockey team to a dramatic victory at cross-town rival Brown on Friday night at Meehan Auditorium (1,096). It was game one of this weekend’s Mayor’s Cup series, while game two will be played tomorrow night at Schneider Arena.

The win was the sixth in a row for the Friars (14-6-1, 6-40 HEA), who have also won 10 of their last 11 games. Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) also scored for Providence, while Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) made 29 saves.

Brown (3-11-0, 1-7-0 ECAC) was led by Mark Naclerio and Josh McArdle, who each finished with a goal and an assist. In net for the Bears, Tyler Steel made a season-high 39 saves.

Brown got on the board first when Naclerio knocked home a rebound in front at 3:32 of the first period for his third goal of the season, with Matt Lorito and McArdle earning the assists.

Just under two minutes later, Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) walked in on a 2-on-1 with Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) and snapped off a wrist shot low to the far side to beat Steel for his seventh of the year. Luke created the odd man rush by picking up a turnover in the neutral zone and banking it off the boards around a Brown defenseman and then picking it up himself just over the Bears’ blue line.

Early in the second period, Brian Pinho (North Andover, Mass.) beat Steel after a nice pass from Saracino, but the freshman winger’s shot hit the post.

The Friars then took their first lead of the night at 10:33 of the second when Saracino fired in his sixth goal of the year while the Friars were on the power play. The play started with a Jake Walman (Toronto, Ontario) shot from the point that Steel saved. Mark Jankowski (Dundas, Ontario) kept the rebound alive in front and Saracino finished it at the far post for his second power-play goal of the season.

But with 18 seconds to play in the second period Nick Lappin tipped in a McArdle shot from the point that also went through a screen in front to make it 2-2. Lorito also had an assist on the play.

Neither team could break the deadlock in the third, with Gillies turning aside all eight shots he faced and Steel coming up with 13 saves in the frame for the Bears.

During the first shift of overtime, Lappin got a shot off that Gillies saved but then Lappin skated into Gillies as Brown’s follow-up shot went in. After review, the referees called no goal as the attacking player was ruled to have interfered with the goaltender.

As time was winding down in overtime, Anthony Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) chipped the puck away from a Brown forward to Tom Parisi (Commack, N.Y.) in the Friar defensive zone. Parisi skated the length of the ice, curled around the Brown net and slid a pass to an open Luke in the slot, who buried his second goal of the night with just 16 seconds left on the clock, handing the Friars their second overtime win in the last three games.

Providence finished the night 1-for-5 on the power play, while Brown was 0-for-3.

The Friars close out their weekend Mayor’s Cup series with Brown tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. at Schneider Arena (Jan. 10). With a win or a tie, the Friars will retain the Mayor’s Cup.

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