PC Hockey Friars Slip at New Hampshire

DURHAM, N.H. — The No. 14/15 Providence College men’s hockey team was defeated by New Hampshire, 2-1, on Tuesday night at the Whittemore Center (3,005).

New Hampshire (7-11-2, 2-5-1 HEA) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a pair of Grayson Downing goals scored at 4:09 and 12:17 of the first period.

Despite a Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) power-play goal late in the first and 34 saves by Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine), Providence (14-8-1, 6-5-0 HEA) was unable to complete the comeback as Wildcat goaltender Daniel Tirone made 30 saves.

Downing gave New Hampshire a 1-0 lead at 4:09 of the first when he finished a two-on-one rush with a backhander down low. Tyler Kelleher assisted on the goal after his pass got by a sliding Providence defenseman.  

Just 30 seconds later, Gillies made a point blank pad save on Matt Willows, who also got in on an odd-man rush, to keep it a 1-0 game.

But then New Hampshire took a 2-0 lead at 12:17 when Downing fired a quick shot from the half boards that deflected in front and ended up behind Gillies just before the net came off due to the scramble in front. Kelleher and John Furgele were credited with assists on the play.

The Friars got on the board at 14:28 of the first when Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) tipped an Anthony Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) shot from the point high past Tirone for his sixth goal of the season. John Gilmour (Montreal, Quebec) also assisted on the goal, which was Acciari’s first power-play goal of the season and the third power-play tally of his career.

One of the Friars’ best scoring chances of the second period came midway through the frame. After Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) fired a wide-angle shot that Tirone kicked out front, Mark Jankowski’s (Dundas, Ontario) follow-up wrist shot from the slot was gloved down by Tirone for his 16th save of the night.

With five seconds to play in the second, Gillies was forced to make two quick pad saves as Downing closed in on the junior goaltender following a Wildcat faceoff win to start their third power play of the night.

The Friars killed off the rest of that power-play chance to start the third period.

With just under four minutes left in the period, Gillies made his best save of the night when he denied Matt Willows, who was in on a partial breakway.

With time winding down, Gillies was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. Trevor Mingoia (Fairport, N.Y.) sent the puck towards the goal with seven seconds to play and Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) tipped it on net, but Tirone made one final save to preserve the win.

The Friars finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while New Hampshire was 0-for 4

After a stretch of three games in five days, the Friars are off until playing a home-and-home series with sixth-ranked UMass Lowell on Jan. 23-24. Both games will begin at 7:00 p.m. Game one of the weekend series, which will be played at Lowell’s Tsongas Arena, will be broadcast on NESN. Game two of the series will be played at Schneider Arena.

Noel Acciari netted his first power-play goal of the season his third-career PPG … Since opening the second half of the season at the Catamount Cup, Acciari has nine points (5-4-9) over the last seven games.