PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The No. 5/6 Friars completed a come-from-behind win on Saturday night at a sold out Schneider Arena, posting a 4-2 victory over the Merrimack Warriors to sweep the season Hockey East series. After trailing 2-1 after two periods of play, the Friars (7-1-1, 3-1-0 HEA) secured the win with a three-goal third period to remain unbeaten at home on the season.
Freshman Conor MacPhee (Windham, N.H.), junior Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) and sophomore Mark Jankowski (Dundas, Ontario) each contributed a goal in the last twenty minutes of play to clinch the Friars' second win in as many nights. Luke's goal at 12:49 of the third proved to be the game winner.
Sophomore goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) earned his sixth win of the season for the Friars making 31 saves in the game. Rasmus Tirronen stopped 30 shots for Merrimack (3-5-0, 0-2-0 HEA).
The Warriors found the back of the net first as Connor Toomey netted his first of the season for a 1-0 lead. John Gustafsson sent a shot from the point that Toomey deflected in from just outside the crease.
In the second period, the Friars evened the score during a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. With Rhett Bly serving a minor penalty and Kyle Singleton called for a five minute major, Providence capitalized when Jankowski notched his fifth goal of the season. Freshman Anthony Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) connected a pass to senior Derek Army (North Kingstown, R.I.) from the point. Army was standing near the goal line when he fired a shot on goal that left a rebound. Jankowski swatted at the rebound, and eventually Army joined the scramble in front of Tirronen. Jankowski found a way to get the puck past the goal line at 5:59 of the period to tie the game at 1-1.
Merrimack regained the lead at 11:53 of the second also scoring on the power play. Mike Collins sent a pass to Hampus Gustafsson who was standing just outside the crease to Gillies' left. Gustafsson sent a cross-crease pass to Chris LeBlanc who tapped the puck into the open net to put the Warriors ahead 2-1.
With 13:11 left to play in regulation, MacPhee scored the equalizer for the Friars. Army added his second assist of the game as he kicked the puck to MacPhee on the forecheck, who caught Tirronen out of position. MacPhee added his second goal of the season when he finished off the wraparound play. The game winner came at 12:49 of the third when Luke tallied his third goal of the season on a breakaway. Luke collected the puck in the neutral zone and skated in alone through the offensive zone before putting the puck past Tirronen for a 3-2 lead. Junior Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) and Florentino each notched an assist on the game winner.
Jankowski capped off the win for the Friars with an empty netter at 19:02 of the third, his second goal of the game. Sophomores Steven McParland (Schreiber, Ontario) and John Gilmour (Montreal, Quebec) each assisted on the play.
The Friars return to the ice next weekend in a road series against Hockey East rival Vermont at the Gutterson Field House. The series opens at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15 and will conclude with a game at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16. Saturday's game will be televised live on NESN.
Notes The Friars are unbeaten at home this season (6-0-1) ... The last time Providence won back-to-back games over Merrimack was Dec. 2-3, 2011, when Merrimack was ranked #1 in the country ... The Friars now have a 5-2-1 record against Merrimack under Head Coach Nate Leaman ... Providence is 9-0-1 all-time when Mark Jankowski scores a goal ... Jankowski had his third multi-point game of the season and tied his career high in goals (2) ... Derek Army tied his career high in assists (2) ... Freshman Anthony Florentino set a career high in assists (2) and tied his career high in points (2) ... Florentino has a three-game point streak, with four assists over that span.