DURHAM, N.H. -- Led by two Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) goals and 41 Jon Gillies saves (South Portland, Maine), the Providence College men’s hockey team tied No. 4/5 New Hampshire 3-3 on Sunday evening at the Whittemore Center.
Freshman John Gilmour (Montreal, Quebec) also scored for the Friars (10-10-6, 8-6-5) and sophomore Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) added two assists as Providence played to a third consecutive overtime road tie. The Wildcats were led by Casey DeSmith, who finished with 39 saves, and Scott Pavelski, who scored at 16:34 of the third to tie the game at 3-3.
The Friars took a 1-0 lead at 13:27 of the first while on the power play. Luke found Saracino on the half boards, who quickly moved it to the far side of the net where a streaking Gilmour fired in his third goal of the year. Gillies made 17 of his 41 stops in the first period to give PC a 1-0 lead after one.
New Hampshire’s Grayson Downing tied the game at 1-1 at the 14:52 mark of the second period. Gillies turned aside a Dalton Speelman shot from the top of the circles, but the puck bounced to an open Downing, who netted his 11th goal of the year from the high slot, with assists going to Speelman and Maxim Gaudreault.
The Wildcats then took a 2-1 lead 30 seconds into the third period on a Dan Correale power-play goal assisted by Downing and Trevor van Riemsdyk. The Friars answered with another power-play goal of their own at the 5:05 mark when Saracino finished from in front. After receiving a pass from Luke, freshman Paul de Jersey (West Vancouver, B.C.) got the puck to the front of the net where Saracino put in his fourth of the year.
Saracino then netted his second of the game when he fired a one-timer from the top of the circles at 9:35 of the third. Sophomore Drew Brown (Grass Lake, Mich.) assisted on the play. With just over six minutes to play in the third, UNH’s Kevin Goumas found himself alone in front after a Wildcat power play came to a close. Gillies reached back from the top f the crease to glove down Goumas’ shot at the goal line, keeping the Friars in front. But then at 16:34 New Hampshire tied it up for good on Pavelski’s third of the year, with assists going to Casey Thrush and Gaudreault.
The Friars and Wilcats both had chances in overtime, and DeSmith was forced to make five of his 39 saves in the extra stanza, including one on Luke with just under ten seconds to play that deflected high off of DeSmith’s facemask.
Providence finished the game 2-for-3 on the power play, while UNH was 1-for-2 with the man advantage. Against what was the top-ranked penalty killing unit entering Sunday’s game, the Friars netted two power-play goals for the first time since scoring three at Brown on Nov. 24 (W, 7-0).
The Friars and Wildcats will close out their regular-season series at Schneider Arena at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in a game that was originally scheduled for Feb. 8 but was postponed due to the recent blizzard.
Notes With a win and a tie so far this season versus the Wildcats, the Friars have clinched at least a regular season series tie with UNH for the first time since the 2005-06 season when PC went 1-1-1 vs. UNH (Providence last won the season series versus UNH in 1995-96 when they went 2-1-0) … Since the Whittemore Center opened for the 1995-96 season, the Friars had never played back-to-back games there without at least one loss until this season’s win (6-5 on Jan. 19) and tie (3-3 on Feb. 10) … With two goals and an assist, Nick Saracino notched the first three point and two-goal game of his Friar career … Five (three goals and two assists) of Saracino’s 10 points (five goals and five assists) this season have come against New Hampshire … Junior defenseman Kevin Hart made his return to the Friar lineup after missing the last five games due to injury … John Gilmour’s power-play goal that gave the Friars a 1-0 lead was his first goal since Oct. 26 vs. Maine – which was also a power-play goal … Gillies finished with 41 saves, marking his third game with over 40 saves this season (also made 44 in a 2-0 win vs. UMass on Jan. 12 and a career-high 48 in a 2-1 loss at UMass Lowell on Jan. 17).