PROVIDENCE, R.I.- In game one of the Hockey East Quarterfinals, the No. 10 Providence College men’s hockey team fell in overtime, 2-1, to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats at Schneider Arena on Friday night.
The Friars and the Wildcats played the majority of the game scoreless before Steven McParland (Schreiber, Ontario) gave Providence (21-12-2) the lead at 10:24 of the third period. Tyler Kelleher tied the game for New Hampshire (18-17-2) during a late power play opportunity to force overtime. Grayson Downing netted the game winner 5:18 into the additional frame to give the Wildcats the series lead after the first game.
In net, Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) and Danny Tirone were the stars for most of the game. Gillies finished with 25 saves, while Tirone had 45, including 31 in the second and third periods to keep the Wildcats in the game.
The opening period was scoreless. Each team recorded ten shots on goal but Tirone and Gillies remained perfect following the first twenty minutes of play. The Friars penalty kill was solid to open the game, going 2-for-2 in the period against the Wildcats. Providence also hit to posts in the frame.
At the end of the second period, there was still no change in the score as neither Providence nor New Hampshire could capitalize on any offensive chances. The Friars registered 20 shots on goal in the frame, with eight of those coming while the team was on the power play. Despite generating a number of quality chances, Providence would finish the game 0-for-2 on the power play.
The Friars and the Wildcats exchanged goals in the third period, to end regulation tied, 1-1. McParland gave the Friars the lead at 10:24 of the period when he netted his first career playoff goal. As the Friars were cycling in the offensive zone, Tom Parisi (Commack, N.Y.) sent a pass across the blue line to Anthony Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.). Florentino skated into the middle of the circle before getting off a shot. The shot was heading wide of the net when it hit off of McParland. The puck bounced down to the ice, and McParland knocked it past Tirone for a 1-0 lead.
Providence’s defense limited the Wildcats to six shots on goal in the third period, including a breakaway chance by Matt Willows that was stopped by Gillies with 2:44 left in regulation, as the team looked to hold the lead to lock up Game 1 of the series. But, New Hampshire took advantage of a too many men on the ice penalty called against the Friars as Tyler Kelleher tied the game at 18:17 with a power play goal.
In the overtime period, both teams exchanged chances in the opening minutes. At 5:18, Grayson Downing clinched the win for the Wildcats as he redirected a shot by Matt Willows that changed direction to beat Gillies. Casey Thrush registered the secondary assist on the game-winning goal.
The Friars finished the game outshooting the Wildcats, 46-27. Gillies made 25 saves in the appearance while Tirone stopped 45 shots by the Friars.
Providence and New Hampshire will play Game 2 of the Hockey East Quarterfinals tomorrow night, Sat., March 14 at Schneider Arena. The puck drop is set for 7:00p.m.