PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior forward Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) scored the game-winning goal just 15 seconds into overtime as the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team defeated Providence College, 3-2, Friday night at Schneider Arena in Providence, R.I. The win extends the Wildcats' winning streak to six games.
In the overtime period, Willows dumped the puck into the Providence zone. The Friar defense attempted to clear the puck off the glass, but Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) blocked the clear and passed it to Willows in stride. Willows then ripped a shot that relief goalie Nick Ellis got a piece of, but could not contain. It was Willows' second goal of the game.
Willows scored his fourth goal of the season just 5:16 into the first period to give New Hampshire a 1-0 lead. Kevin Goumas (Long Beach, N.Y.) fed Willows the puck as he won the faceoff to the right of Providence netminder Jon Gillies in the PC zone. Willows was directly behind Goumas and ripped a quick shot that was deflected in front of the net by the Providence defense and bounced past Gillies and into the net.
After UNH netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) came up with big saves on the other end of the ice, Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) gave New Hampshire a 2-0 advantage on a breakaway goal, his seventh of the season. Dan Correale (Prince George, British Columbia) slid the puck to Downing in the neutral zone who then blazed past the last Providence defenseman. The senior pulled the puck across the face of the net and buried it in the back of the net.
As the first period came to a close, UNH held a 2-0 advantage. The Wildcats put 16 shots on goal in the first stanza, converting on two of them. DeSmith made saves on each of the five shots he faced in the period to keep the Friars off the board.
The Friars upped their offensive pressure in the second period, bringing 12 shots on goal. DeSmith remained resilient and denied each of the 12 opportunities. Providence's Paul de Jersey blasted a shot from between the faceoff circle and the red line from the right of DeSmith that rung the post and was covered by the netminder. With 3:14 remaining in the second, Willows nearly cashed in on another chance with a blast from the top of the slot. The shot beat Gillies over his glove side, but hit the crossbar and up into the air.
Providence's Steven McParland answered with a point-blank shot from the left of DeSmith, but he was denied. McParland gathered the rebound, but was again denied by the Granite State native. After two periods of play, the Wildcats led, 2-0.
To start the third period, DeSmith made saves on the first six shots faced, but Noel Acciari finally got PC on the board with a one-time attempt from just outside the crease. Nick Saracino played the puck to Acciari from behind the net who in turn scored. DeSmith got a piece of the shot, but the puck bounced behind him and into the net.
PC's Mark Jankowski leveled the score at 2-2 with 5:48 remaining in the third period as he sent a one-time shot to the top right corner of the net for the goal. McParland played a pass to Brandon Tanev behind the net and to the right of DeSmith. Tanev sent the puck to Jankowski who one-timed a shot into the net.
DeSmith earned the win in net for the Wildcats after making 29 saves on 31 shots faced. His record improves to 5-4-1. Gillies made 22 saves on the 24 shots he faced, but came out at the end of the second period. Ellis made four saves on the five shots he faced in relief.
New Hampshire improves to 7-5-1 overall and to 5-2-0 in Hockey East play. Providence falls to 9-2-1 overall and to 5-2-0 in league action.
The two teams will finish the season series Saturday, Nov. 23 with a night game at Schneider Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.