#8 PC Hockey Clinches Home Ice in Hockey East Quarterfinals
Erik Foley broke a 1-1 tie with 2:01 remaining in the third period to propel the No. 8 Providence College men’s hockey team to a thrilling 3-1 win at UMass Lowell on Saturday night at Tsongas Center.
No. 8 Providence – 3 | UMass Lowell – 1
Providence – 20-9-4 (13-6-4 HEA) | UMass Lowell – 16-16-0 (10-12-0 HEA)
Tsongas Center – Lowell, Mass.
Hayden Hawkey (PC) – 26 saves
Tyler Wall (UML) – 28 saves
– The teams combined for just eight shots in the opening 20 minutes, with five-on-five chances coming at premium. Ben Mirageas and Spenser Young each had two shots in the opening period.
– Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period.
– The opened up more in the second period as the Friars began to find their rhythm, holding a 18-9 edge in shots in the middle stanza.
– Providence finally broke through 5:20 into the period as Kasper Björkqvist netted his 13th goal of the season to put the Friars up 1-0. Vincent Desharnais fired a shot from the point and Brian Pinho sent the rebound back into Wall before Björkqvist cleaned up the rebound.
– The Friars nearly doubled the lead on the power play in the latter stages of the period as Josh Wilkins snapped a shot that rang off the crossbar.
– Hawkey continued his strong play by robbing a tip-attempt from Nick Marin, who denied by the Friar netminder in highlight-reel fashion on Friday.
– Providence survived a late power play for the River Hawks after the hosts rang two posts during the man advantage, but UMass Lowell finally broke through on Chris Forney’s wrist shot with 2:43 remaining.
– Erik Foley responded with his team-leading 15th goal of the season just 42 seconds later, finishing a one-timer on a pass from Greg Printz.
– Josh Wilkins added an empty-net goal with 50.5 seconds for his 13th goal of the season.
– The Friars swept the River Hawks for the second-consecutive season and earned their second weekend sweep over the same opponent this season (Miami).
– Jacob Bryson became the first Providence defenseman since Stephen Wood in 2002-03 to record 20 assists in a season. Bryson is the second Hockey East defenseman this season to reach the 20-assist mark.
– With the win, Providence clinches home ice advantage in the Hockey East Quarterfinals and can finish no lower than the No. 3 seed in the Hockey East Tournament.
– The win also marked the fifth-consecutive season of at least 20 wins for the Friars, setting a program record.
– The Friars remain in second place in the Hockey East standings, two points behind first place Boston College with one game remaining.
HOW THEY SCORED
1-0 (PC) – 5:20/2nd – EV – Kasper Björkqvist (Pinho, Desharnais) – Shot from the point by Desharnais, Pinho was stopped on the initial rebound before Björkqvist finished off the loose puck.
1-1 (UML) – 17:17/3rd – EV – Chris Forney (Paskus, Lohin) – Wrist shot through a screen from the point.
2-1 (PC) – 17:59/3rd – EV – Erik Foley (Printz, Bryson) – One-timer from the right circle off a diagonal pass from Printz.
3-1 (PC) – 19:09/3rd – EN – Josh Wilkins – Empty-net goal from outside the blue line.
PC GAME HIGHS
Goals: Björkqvist, Foley, Wilkins (1)
Assists: Bryson, Desharnais, Pinho, Printz (1)
Points: Seven players (1)
Shots: Pinho (7)
Providence – 0/3
UMass Lowell – 0/3
Providence – 31
UMass Lowell – 27
Providence concludes the regular season next Saturday (Feb. 24) at UMass for their second trip of the season to the Mullins Center.
For more updates on the Providence College men’s hockey program, follow the team on Twitter @FriarsHockey.