In a game that saw all the scoring take place in the third period, the men's hockey team fell at 15th-ranked UMass Lowell, 2-1, on Thursday night at the Tsongas Center in front of a crowd of 5,694.
With the Friars trailing 1-0 early in the third, sophomore Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) tied the game when he finished a Mark Jankowski (Dundas, Ontario) pass in front at 6:13. But River Hawk defenseman Chad Ruhwedel netted what turned out to be the game-winning goal 26 seconds later as UMass Lowell went on to win its eighth game in a row (12-7-1, 6-6-1 HEA). Providence (9-9-3, 7-5-2 HEA) freshman goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) made a career high 48 saves in the game, while River Hawk goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 31 stops.
The first period ended 0-0, but UMass Lowell had several chances in the early going, while the Friars put the pressure on Hellebuyck late, including chances by sophomore Stefan Demopoulos (La Mesa, Calif.), Mauermann and Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) from the slot that were turned away. Gillies finished the period with 14 saves, while Hellebuyck made eight stops.
The goaltenders picked up where they left off and again kept the score tied, 0-0, after another 20 minutes of play. Gillies made 18 saves in the second period, while Hellebuyck had 13. With less than five minutes to play in the period, Friar freshman Steven McParland (Schreiber, Ontario) took a feed from classmate Paul de Jersey (West Vancouver, B.C.) in front and got off a one timer that was one of PC's better scoring chances of the period. Mauermann also tested Hellebuyck's blocker from a tight angle earlier in the period, but Hellebuyck pushed the shot over his cross bar.
Skating on an early power play in the third, freshman Ryan McGrath finished from the low slot to put the River Hawks up, 1-0 at the 2:10 mark. Christian Folin and Zack Kamrass also assisted on the goal, which snapped Gillies' shutout streak at 124:36 (dating back to Providence's game at UMass last Friday night). The Friars answered at 6:13 when Jankowski picked up the puck on the near boards from Mauermann and stick handled through a River Hawk defenseman and laid the puck back off for a streaking Mauermann, who buried his shot high past Hellebuyck. But 26 seconds later, Ruhwedel let a high shot fly from the point that went through a screen and found the back of the net to give the River Hawks the 2-1 lead. Joe Houk and Derek Arnold also assisted on what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The River Hawks finished the game 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Friars were 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Providence will now have a day off before hitting the road to face third-ranked New Hampshire on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Wildcats' Whittemore Center. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m.
Notes Ross Mauermann has six points in his last six games played (3-3-6) ... Dating back to the second period of Providence's 5-4 win at UMass on Jan. 11, Gillies put together a shutout stretch of 124:36 before Lowell's power play goal at 2:10 of the third period ... Gillies' 48 saves rank as the seventh-highest single game total in the Friar record book ... Freshman defenseman Will Goss (Wellesley, Mass.) became the 13th player to make his Friar debut this season.