With time winding down in overtime, senior Tim Schaller (Merrimack, N.H.) picked up a pass from classmate Kyle Murphy (Fairhaven, N.J.), curled toward the front of the net and let a wrist shot fly high to the short side for his third goal of the year, lifting the men's hockey team to a 3-2 overtime win at Merrimack's Lawler Arena on Friday night.
With the win, Providence improved to 7-5-1 (5-3-0 HEA) on the season, while Merrimack moved to 4-7-2 (3-4-1 HEA). Freshman Jon Gillies (South Portland Maine) finished with 25 saves in the Friar net, while Sam Marotta made 24 saves for the Warriors. It was a game dominated by special teams, with Providence going 1-for-7 on the power play, and Merrimack finishing 1-for-8.
The Friars took a 1-0 lead at 9:28 of the first period when red shirt freshman Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) banged home a rebound in front following a Marotta save on a Drew Brown (Grass Lake, Mich.) shot from the slot. Junior Derek Army (North Kingstown, R.I.) also assisted on the play. The Warriors answered with a similar goal at 13:59. Tom McCarthy fired a shot from the point that Gillies turned aside, but Rhett Bly was waiting just outside the crease to knock in his third of the year. Gillies made 10 saves in the opening period, including one on Brian Christie from the doorstep while the Friars were on the penalty kill.
While on an extended five minute power play following a contact to the head penalty and game misconduct to the Warriors, the Friars were able to take a 2-1 lead on Brown's third goal of the year. After some passing around the perimeter, Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) let a shot fly that Marotta knocked down, but Shamanski followed with a shot that was saved, but Schaller pushed the rebound to Brown, who lifted it past a sprawled out Marotta at 11:43. It was Brown's second goal in as many games. The period came to a close with a flurry of power-play chances for the Warriors, including an extended 5-on-3 that the Friars were able to kill off.
The Warriors tied it up 40 seconds into the third. While still on a 5-on-4 power play, Mike Collins found Connor Toomey with space in front and Toomey one-timed his shot off the post and in to once again tie the game. After nine combined power play chances in the third, the game remained tied and headed to overtime.
In the extra stanza, the Friars generated the majority of chances, including a John Gilmour (Montreal Quebec) rush that ended in the freshman's shot being pushed just wide of the net. Marotta made two saves in overtime. On Schaller's decisive goal, his third of the year, the fore check of Murphy created a turnover in the corner and Schaller did the rest. It was the first overtime game-winning goal scored by a Friar since Dec. 2, 2011, when Mauermann's overtime tally helped Providence down then top-ranked Merrimack, 2-1.
Notes The Friars posted an overtime road win for the first time since Jan. 13, 2007 when Providence won at UMass Lowell, 3-2, on Colin McDonald's game winner ... The Friars improved to 6-0-1 on the year when scoring first and to 1-1-1 in overtime games ... Jon Gillies made his 13th consecutive start in the Friar net ... Drew Brown had a goal and an assist for his second multi-point game of the season (also had a goal and an assist vs. Maine on Oct. 26) and he netted a goal for the second consecutive game ... Tim Schaller became the seventh different Friar to score a game-winning goal this season (it was his fifth career game winner) ... It was the first overtime game-winning goal scored by a Friar since Dec. 2, 2011, when Ross Mauermann's overtime tally helped Providence down then top-ranked Merrimack, 2-1 ... Schaller's goal and assist showing gave him his second multi-point game of the season (also had a goal and assist vs. Northeastern on Nov. 16) ... With an assist, Derek Army has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in his last four games.