PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Playing to a tie for the fourth time in the past five games, the Providence College men's hockey team and the No. 19 Merrimack Warriors completed their regular season series with a 2-2 tie at Schneider Arena on Sunday afternoon. With the tie, the Friars (11-10-7, 9-6-6 HEA) remain tied for fourth in Hockey East while Merrimack (14-10-6, 12-6-3 HEA) remains first in the conference.
Sophomore Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) and junior Derek Army (North Kingstown, R.I.) each scored for the Friars, while freshman goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) stopped 24 shots. Vinny Scotti scored both goals for the Warriors including a shorthanded goal late in the third period to tie the game. Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta also made 24 saves.
Luke gave the Friars an early advantage when he scored one minute into the first period. After pressure along the boards by Luke and his linemates sophomore Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) and freshman Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.), the Friars forced a turnover in the Warriors offensive zone. Mauermann got the puck to Luke out of the scrum, who skated in and fired a shot that beat Marotta short side to give Providence a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors took advantage of a five minute major penalty that was assessed to Luke for kneeing when Scotti scored at 4:27 of the second period to even the score at 1-1. Gillies made the original save on the play that led to the tying goal but Scotti collected the rebound and lifted the puck over Gillies. Providence regained the lead before the end of the period when Army scored his team leading 12th goal of the season. After receiving a pass from freshman Brandon Tanev (Toronto, Ont.), Army tossed a shot from outside the face-off circle that got past Marotta to give the Friars the advantage at 15:36 of the second period.
Merrimack evened the score at 2-2 when Scotti scored his second goal of the afternoon with 4:56 left to play in regulation. Kyle Bigos was serving a five minute kneeing major for kneeing when Scotti broke out with Shawn Bates on a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush. Bates dropped a pass to Scotti who beat Gillies to tie the game at 2-2.
The Friars return to the ice on Friday, February 22 at 7:00 p.m. for the first half of a home-and-home series with Northeastern. Friday's game will be held at Schneider Arena, followed by a 7:00p.m. game at Matthews Arena on Saturday night.
Notes The Friars extended their unbeaten streak to five games (1-0-4), which is their longest streak of the season ... The Friars are now 7-1-4 when leading after one period this season and 10-2-4 when scoring first ... Providence is 3-0-1 when Shane Luke scores ... Derek Army set a career high with his 12th goal of the season ... Derek Army became the fourth Friar to play in his 100th game this season and along with his father, Tim, became the second father-son pair to play at least 100 career games (matching a feat that Randy and Alex Velischek completed earlier this season).