Friars Rally From 3-0 Deficit with Six Unanswered Goals to Win NCAA Opener at Dunk

he fourth-seeded Providence College men’s hockey team scored six unanswered goals to upend first-seeded Minnesota State in the NCAA East Regional Semifinal on Saturday, March 30 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. Josh Wilkins and Tyce Thompson each had three-point performances to help the Friars battle back from an early 3-0 deficit.

No. 11 Providence – 6 | No. 3 Minnesota Sate – 3

Providence – 23-11-6 | Minnesota State – 32-8-2

Dunkin’ Donuts Center – Providence, R.I.

Hayden Hawkey (PC) – 31 saves
Dryden McKay (MSU) – 23 saves

– Providence had the game’s first power-play chance, going on the man advantage just 1:50 into the game. Brian Lemos appeared a poke home a goal, but it was waved off because the referee had already blown the play dead.
– The Mavericks jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals 36 seconds apart. Charlie Gerard scored a rebound goal on a 2-on-1 rush and Jake Jeremko added a back-door tap in to build the lead 8:28 into the first period.
– Nick Rivera extended the Mavericks’ lead at the 11:08 mark, converting on a Friar turnover at the defensive blue line. His 10th goal of the season, which was unassisted, made it 3-0.
– Providence responded with a Josh Wilkins power-play goal at 13:12 of the first. Tic-tac-toe passing between Greg Printz, Tyce Thompson and Wilkins led to a one-time finish, which made it 3-1.
– Minnesota State appeared to regain a three-goal lead with a power-play goal in the final minute of the period, but the goal was called back due to offsides.
– Vimal Sukumaran cut into the Mavericks’ lead, scoring his sixth goal of the season just 4:37 into the second period. Ryan Tait slid the puck to Sukumaran on a rush in transition and he fired a shot over McKay’s blocker to make it 3-2.
– The Friars tied the game with 10:27 remaining in the second period. Jack Dugan played a pass from behind the net to Kasper Björkqvist, who was waiting on the doorstep for a tap-in. The goal was Björkqvist’s 17th of the season and it was the Friars’ second power-play goal of the afternoon.
– Jacob Bryson earned the secondary assist on Björkqvist’s goal. He became the eighth Friar in the game to register a point.
– Providence had another power-play chance late in the period, as the Mavericks were called for too many men on the ice. The Friars only recorded one shot on goal and moved to 2-for-4 in the game on the power play.
– Minnesota State’s Connor Mackey was called for contact to the head and given a game misconduct at the 7:37 mark of the third. Providence capitalized on the five-minute man-advantage, scoring twice.
– Thompson and Wilkins each lit the lamp for the Friars, just 1:18 apart. The pair assisted each other’s tallies and Brandon Duhaime earned helpers on both goals. The strikes for the Friars were nearly identical, but from opposite sides of the ice.
– Jason O’Neill capped the Friars’ scoring with an empty-net goal, his sixth strike of the season. His unassisted goal came with 2:10 left to play.
– Hayden Hawkey finished with 31 saves for Providence, while Dryden McKay made 23 for Minnesota State.
– Wilkins is the fifth player to have two goals in an NCAA Tournament game. He is tied for the record after his two-goal game today.
– The four power play goals were a season-high for the Friars.
– The Friars improved to 16-19 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and evened their record at 7-7 in the opening rounds.

1-0 (MSU) – 7:52/1st – EV – Charlie Gerard (Tuomie, Michaelis) – Rebound goal on a 2-on-1 rush.
2-0 (MSU) – 8:28/1st – EV – Jake Jaremko (Lutz, Hookensen) – Cross-ice pass for a back-door tap-in.
3-0 (MSU) – 11:08/1st – EV – Nick Rivera (unassisted) – Turnover at the blue line that allowed Rivera to skate through the slot and score five-hole.
3-1 (PC) – 13:12/1st – PP – Josh Wilkins (Thompson, Printz) – Tic-tac-toe passing for a Wilkins one-timer.
3-2 (PC) – 4:37/2nd – EV – Vimal Sukumaran (Tait) – Wrist shot from the top of the left circle that beat McKay high, blocker side.
3-3 (PC) – 9:33/2nd – PP – Kasper Björkqvist (Dugan, Bryson) – Pass from behind the net for a tap in on the doorstep.
4-3 (PC) – 8:37/3rd – PP – Tyce Thompson (Duhaime, Wilkins) – Pass from Duhaime across the slot for a wrist shot.
5-3 (PC) – 9:55/3rd – PP – Josh Wilkins (Thompson, Sukumaran) – Pass from Thompson across the slot for a wrist shot under the crossbar.
6-3 (PC) – 17:50/3rd – EN – Jason O’Neill (unassisted) – Empty-net goal.

Goals: Wilkins (2)
Assists: Thompson (2)
Points: Wilkins, Thompson (3)
Shots: Bryson (5)

Providence – 4/7
Minnesota State – 0/3

Providence – 29
Minnesota State – 34

The Friars advance to tomorrow’s NCAA East Regional Final at 4:00 p.m. at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Providence awaits the winner of this evening’s game between No. 5 Northeastern and No. 10 Cornell.

For more updates on the Providence College men’s hockey program, follow the team on Twitter @FriarsHockey.