PROVIDENCE, R.I. - In Providence College's last regular-season home game, the No. 12 Friars posted a 4-3 win over the University of Massachusetts Minutemen on Friday night at Schneider Arena (2,978). Sophomore Brandon Tanev (Toronto, Ontario) led the way for Providence's offense as he set a personal career high with three points, including an assist on sophomore Mark Jankowski's (Dundas, Ontario) game winning goal at 15:51 of the second period.
Providence (16-9-6, 8-7-2 HEA) notched four goals throughout the first two periods, with four different goal scorers. Senior Kevin Hart (Cumberland, Maine) opened the scoring for the Friars fittingly as there was a pregame ceremony to honor the three graduating seniors on the roster. Tanev, red-shirt sophomore Noel Acciari (Johnston, R.I.), and Jankowski also netted goals to give the Friars a 4-1 lead after the first forty minutes of play.
UMass (8-20-4, 4-12-3 HEA) began a comeback in the latter stages of the third period as the team's power play provided a spark. Both Steven Iacobellis and Michael Pereira scored with the man advantage for the Minuteman to cut the Friars lead to 4-3 by 13:19 of the third but Providence went on to post the Hockey East win.
Sophomore Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) played a strong game for the Friars, highlighted by a 21-save performance in the third period. Massachusetts goaltender Steve Mastalerz stopped 31 saves in the loss.
At 3:21 of the first period, the Friars grabbed the lead. Due to a delayed penalty call, the Friars were skating with an extra skater on the ice when Hart scored his third of the season. Junior Shane Luke (Dauphin, Manitoba) connected a pass from outside the face-off circle to sophomore Nick Saracino (St. Louis, Mo.) who was along the corner boards. Hart was streaking in through the middle of the ice when Saracino hit him with a pass that Hart fired past Mastalerz to make the score 1-0.
The Friars doubled the lead at 10:37 when Tanev notched his fourth goal of the season. Senior Derek Army (North Kingstown, R.I.) banked a pass off of the boards to clear the defensive zone that broke out Acciari and Tanev for a 2-on-1. Mastalerz made the original save on the play as Acciari elected to take the shot on the play but Tanev drove to the net and buried the rebound for a 2-0 Friars lead.
Branden Gracel added a power play goal before the conclusion of the opening period to cut the Friars lead to 2-1. Gracel's goal was assisted by Michael Pereira at 17:24 from just outside Gillies' crease.
Identical to the first period, Providence notched a pair of goals in the second. Acciari registered his second point of the game when he successfully stuffed the puck past the pad of Mastalerz and around the post for his ninth goal of the season. Scored while on the power play, the goal came at 11:20 with assists credited to sophomore Paul de Jersey (West Vancouver, B.C.) and Tanev.
Sophomore Mark Jankowski (Dundas, Ontario) capped off a 3-on-2 rush with Hart and sophomore Tom Parisi (Commack, N.Y.) as he roofed a shot over Mastalerz at 15:51 of the second period. The play was started by Tanev, who got the puck to Parisi while both teams were skating with four players on the ice. Parisi fed Jankowski with the pass that would open up the ice for the odd man rush. Jankowski's tenth of the season would turn out to be the game-winning goal.
Late third period power play chances for the Minutemen allowed them to close the margin on the scoreboard as Iacobellis posted a power-play goal at 8:39 of the third. Gracel got a shot off on Gillies from a sharp angle that Iacobellis finished off to cut the Friars lead to 4-2. Michael Pereira brought UMass within a goal at 13:19 when his eleventh of the season was scored on the power play just to the left of Gillies. The comeback would fall short as the Friars defense finished the game strong to clinch the win.
Special teams had a large impact on the game as both teams found the back of the net on the power play. The Friars went 1-for-6 as well as a goal scored on a delayed penalty call while the Minutemen went 3-for-7 with the man advantage.
Providence outshot Massachusetts, 35-33 after three periods but held a 27-10 advantage after the first 40 minutes of play.
The Friars will travel to Amherst, Mass. tomorrow Saturday, Feb. 22 to close out the weekend series against the Minutemen. Puck drop is set for 7:00p.m. at the Mullins Center.