Both teams have won five games in a row heading into Friday night's showdown.
Nate Leaman is in his third season as head coach of the Providence College men's hockey program. In two seasons at helm, Leaman has transformed the program, including back-to-back Hockey East Championship semifinal appearances by the Friars.
Last season, Leaman led the Friars to a 17-14-7 overall record and a 13-8-6 mark in Hockey East play. It marked the most wins for a Friar squad since the 2005-06 season. The 13 Hockey East wins tied for the third-most in program history. The Friars entered the last weekend of the regular season in contention for the league title for the first time ever and went on to win a home quarterfinal Hockey East playoff series for the first time since 2001. The Friars then made a second consecutive Hockey East semifinal appearance, marking the first time in 17 seasons that Providence has made at least the Hockey East semifinal in consecutive seasons (1994-95 & 1995-96).
In 2012-13, Leaman coached Providence College's first All-American since 2004 in freshman goaltender Jon Gillies, who was named a Second Team All-American. Gillies was also named the Hockey Commissioner's Association (HCA) National Rookie of the Year, a First Team Hockey East All-Star and the Hockey East Rookie of the Year. He was just the third freshman all-time to earn First Team Hockey East honors. In addition to Gillies, senior Kyle Murphy was named the 2013 Derek Hines Unsung Hero Award Winner by the HCA, Tim Schaller became just the second Friar to earn Hockey East Defensive Forward of the Year honors and six Friars were named to the 2013 Hockey East All-Academic Team.
During the 2012-13 season, the Friars reached as high as 16th in the USCHO.com poll, their highest ranking since November, 2003. Providence was then ranked 18th in the season-ending USCHO.com poll, marking the first time since 2001 the Friars were ranked in the year-end USCO.com poll. The Friars were able to move into the polls on the strength of several marquee wins, including their first win at New Hampshire since 2004 and their first win at Boston College in their last 18 tries.
Leaman and his team are very involved in the community and last season the Friars added Kevin Rich to their squad as part of Team IMPACT, which is a non-profit chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Leaman received the Reverend John McMahon Award from the Providence College Student Congress in April of 2013. Recognizing members of the PC community for outstanding dedication and service to the student body, it is the highest honor that Student Congress awards.
In his first season at Providence (2011-12), Leaman led the Friars to the Hockey East Semifinals for the first time since 2001. Providence defeated No. 2 seed UMass Lowell in a best-of-three quarterfinal series to become the first No. 7 seed to ever win a Hockey East Quarterfinal series in the 28-year history of the league.
Leaman, who was appointed the 12th coach at Providence on April 22, 2011, guided Providence to 14 victories during the 2011-12 season. Among those wins was a two-game weekend sweep of then No. 1 nationally ranked Merrimack on December 3-4. The 2-1 overtime triumph on December 2 was PC's first over a No. 1 team since 2003. After their successful weekend against Merrimack, the Friars were ranked in the USCHO.com national poll for the first time since 2008. In all, Providence recorded seven wins against nationally ranked teams, including five victories against squads in the top-10. In addition, Leaman coached Ross Mauermann, who was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. Mauermann became the first Friar to earn the honor since 2007.
Prior to Providence, Leaman spent eight seasons as the head coach at Union College. Leaman's 2010-11 Union squad posted an impressive 26-10-4 overall record, including a 17-3-2 mark in the ECAC. The 26 overall wins and the 17 league triumphs are school records. The team captured the College's first Cleary Cup (ECAC regular season champion) and earned its first NCAA Division I Tournament berth. Union's season came to end when it was defeated by eventual national champion Minnesota-Duluth, 2-0, in the 2011 NCAA East Regional Semifinal. The Dutchmen went 14-1-1 in their final 16 regular season games to clinch the league title. Union had the top power play in the nation as it posted a 29.5 percent success rate. In addition, the team allowed just 2.10 goals per game, which ranked second in the nation. The Dutchmen also were ranked nationally for the entire season and were as high as fourth. For his efforts, Leaman received the 2011 Spencer Penrose Award as the Division I Men's Coach of the Year and he also was named ECAC Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
In eight seasons at Union, Leaman's teams posted a 138-127-35 mark. His 138 wins are the most of any of the 14 head coaches in school history. He also posted the highest winning percentage (.518) of a Union head coach. Leaman guided Union to four consecutive winning seasons. In 2009-10, the team posted a 21-12-6 record, finished third place in the ECAC regular season and was the ECAC Tournament runner up. During his tenure at Union, Leaman coached 91 All-ECAC Academic selections, 12 All-ECAC players, six All-ECAC Rookie selections, three ECAC Student-Athletes of the Year and two CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Honorees. In his career behind the bench, Leaman has coached 16 NHL draft picks, five All-Americans and one Hobey Baker finalist.
The 2007-08 season began a stretch of four consecutive winning seasons for the Union program under Leaman. That team posted a 16-15-4 overall record and placed fourth in the ECAC, which at the time was the program's highest finish. In 2008-09, the team finished the season at 19-17-3 overall and it marked the first back-to-back winning campaigns in program history. That success carried over to the 2009-10 season as Leaman's squad was ranked in the top-20 nationally for 14 consecutive weeks.
Leaman also served as an assistant coach with USA Hockey for the US World Junior Team in 2007 and 2009. In 2007, he helped lead the team to a Bronze Medal in Leksand, Sweden.
Prior to taking the Union position, Leaman spent four seasons as an assistant coach for Mark Mazzoleni at Harvard, where he was the top assistant and recruiting coordinator during his final season. Leaman helped rebuild the Harvard program into one of the top teams in the ECAC, taking the squad from eighth place in the league to an ECAC tournament championship and NCAA appearance in 2001-2002, and an ECAC runner-up finish and NCAA appearance in 2002-2003. During his four years on the Harvard coaching staff, Leaman had a hand in recruiting 13 NHL draft picks and helped the program to be consistently ranked near the top of college hockey in the number of players with NHL rights.
Prior to joining the staff in Cambridge, Leaman served as a volunteer assistant coach under Shawn Walsh at the University of Maine in 1998-99. In helping guide Maine to a 31-6-4 record and the 1999 NCAA Championship, Leaman's responsibilities included working with the Black Bears' defense, video analysis, on-campus recruiting and monitoring of the players' academic progress. While in Orono, Leaman earned a Master of Science degree in biological sciences in 1999.
Before joining the staff at Maine, Leaman served as associate coach for one season at Old Town High School in Old Town, Maine, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of team practices and bench management during games.
Leaman is a 1997 graduate of SUNY Cortland, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences with a concentration in environmental science and received the Aldo Leopold Award for excellence in environmental science. Captain of the hockey team as a junior and senior, Leaman finished his career as one of the top-20 scorers in Red Dragons' history.
Prior to attending Cortland, Leaman spent a season with the Enkoping Sports Klubb in Enkoping, Sweden, and also played one year with the Indianapolis Junior Ice in the North American Junior Hockey League.
A native of Centerville, Ohio, Leaman and his wife, Alice, have two young sons, Ty and Bryce.
Leaman's Year-By-Year Coaching Records Year Team Overall Pct. Conf. Pct. Finish
2012-13 PC 17-14-7 .539 13-8-6 .593 T-3
2011-12 PC 14-20-4 .421 10-14-3 .426 7
2010-11 Union 26-10-4 .700 17-3-2 .818 1
2009-10 Union 21-12-6 .615 12-6-4 .636 3
2008-09 Union 19-17-3 .526 9-11-2 .455 8
2007-08 Union 15-14-6 .514 10-7-5 .568 T-4
2006-07 Union 14-19-3 .431 7-14-1 .341 12
2005-06 Union 16-16-6 .500 9-9-4 .500 T-6
2004-05 Union 13-22-2 .378 8-13-1 .386 8
2003-04 Union 14-17-5 .458 8-11-3 .432 8
Total 169-161-46 .511 113-96-31.533
The Nate Leaman FileName: Nathan G. Leaman
Family: Wife, Alice; Sons, Ty & Bryce
Education: SUNY Cortland '97 - B.S. in biological sciences
University of Maine '99 - M.S. in biological sciences
Head Coach - Providence College, 2011-
Head Coach - Union College, 2003-2011
Assistant Coach - Harvard University, 1999-2003
Assistant Coach - U.S.A World Junior Team, 2007 and 2009
Volunteer Assistant Coach - University of Maine, 1998-1999
Awards and Honors
Spencer Penrose Award (Division I National Coach of the Year) - 2011
ECAC Coach of the Year - 2010 and 2011
Inside College Hockey National Coach of the Year - 2010
Spencer Penrose Award Finalist - 2010