PROVIDENCE COLLEGE SWEEPS MAINE, 4-2, TO ADVANCE TO HOCKEY EAST SEMIFINALS
Sophomore forward Nick Saracino scores two goals for Friars
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College men's hockey team defeated Maine, 4-2, to sweep their Hockey East Quarterfinal series against the Black Bears at Schneider Arena (2,172) on Saturday night. With the win, the Friars advance to the Hockey East semifinals for a third consecutive season.
After falling behind 1-0, the Friars bounced back as a result of two first period goals from sophomore Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) to take a 2-1 lead into the second period. Senior Derek Army (North Kingstown, R.I.) and junior Ross Mauermann (Janesville, Wis.) each added a goal in the middle frame for the Friars to go ahead 4-1 over the Black Bears. Army's goal proved to be the game winner for the second consecutive game.
Maine surged in the third period as Steven Swavely cut the deficit to two goals but the effort by the Friars defense and Providence (21-9-6, 11-7-2) sophomore goaltender Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) proved impossible to overcome. Gillies stopped 36 shots in the game, including 15 in the third period.
Maine (16-15-4, 9-8-3) goaltenders Martin Ouellette and Dan Sullivan combined for 26 saves.
Maine took a lead for the first time in the series when Ben Hutton scored his second goal in as many games at 3:18 of the first period. Hutton's blast from the blue line found its way through traffic in front. Brice O'Connor and Devin Shore each assisted on the power play goal.
Saracino evened the game at 1-1 with his fifth career playoff goal at 11:20 of the first period. The play started when junior Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) tipped a loose puck from the middle of the Black Bear zone to senior Steven Shamanski (Carberry, Manitoba) at the blue line. Shamanski's point shot was redirected by Saracino from just outside the crease.
The Friars then scored their first power play goal of the game at 15:01 of the first period when Saracino netted his second goal of the game. Saracino got the puck from along the boards and fired the puck from just to the right of Ouellette. Trevor Mingoia (Fairport, N.Y.) and Shamanski each notched assists on the goal.
Providence grabbed a two-goal lead at 8:31 of the second period when Army scored his second goal of the series, which proved to be his second game-winning goal in as many nights. Red-shirt sophomore Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.) gained possession of the puck following a neutral zone faceoff and carried the puck around the Maine net. Army stayed with the play and picked up the puck from Acciari right outside the Black Bears goal post to put the Friars up 3-1.
Mauermann gave the Friars a 4-1 advantage when he scored his second career playoff goal at 15:36 of the second. Skating on a 5-on-3 power play, the Friar goal was setup by Mingoia and freshman Anthony Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.). Florentino, while playing the point, connected a pass to Mingoia along the boards. Minogia sent a cross ice pass to Mauermann, standing just outside the circle. Mauermann's one timer beat Dan Sullivan high for a second Friar power-play goal.
Maine's Steven Swavely scored on a backhander just 2:45 into the final period of play but that was as close as the Black Bears would get.
The Friars have advanced to the Hockey East Semifinals for a third season in a row for the first time in program history. The semifinals will be played on Friday, March 21 at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass. The game time and opponent will be decided after the other three quarterfinal series are decided.
The last time the Friars had a six-game winning streak was 12/2/05-1/6/06 ... Providence had not swept a Hockey East Quarterfinal series in two games since 1996 (defeated BC) ... PC is 18-9-0 all-time in Hockey East Quarterfinal games played at Schneider Arena ... In the 13 Hockey East Quarterfinals the Friars have hosted, the team has won 10 of those series ... The Friars have gone 7-0-1 in their last eight games against Maine ... Providence will play in the Hockey East Semifinals for the third straight season for the first time in program history ... Derek Army is the first Friar to score both game winning goals in a Hockey East Quarterfinal since Nick Saracino did so last season against UNH ... Noel Acciari's point streak continues for a career-high six-games (3-5-8) ... Providence has scored power play goals in four consecutive games ... The Friars scored multiple power play goals in a game for the first time since 1/18/14 at Colorado College ... Derek Army tied Tony Zancanaro's record for consecutive games played at 146 ... Nick Saracino has six goals in six career playoff games ... Saracino tied a career high in goals (2) and had his first multi-goal game of the season ... Trevor Mingoia set a career high in assists (2) and tied his previous career high in points (2) ... Steven Shamanski had his third multi-point game of the season ... Anthony Florentino registered his first career playoff point.