PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Seniors Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) and Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) each tallied a goal for the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team as the squad fell in the series finale at No. 3 Providence, 4-2, Saturday night at Schneider Arena.
Sorkin got the Wildcats on the board with his eighth goal of the season on a power play advantage. Prior to the play, PC's Steven McParland was sent to the box for interference. Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia) swatted the puck to Sorkin who then gathered the puck just inside the blueline and bounced it off the wall to freshman Tyler Kelleher (Longmeadow, Mass.). Kelleher controlled the puck and played a pass to Sorkin in stride in the slot. Sorkin ripped a shot to the top corner of the net that beat PC goalie Jon Gillies for the 1-0 advantage.
The Wildcats fired an additional eight shots on goal in the period with Matt Willows (Congers, N.Y.) and Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) leading the way with two shots each. On the other end of the ice, netminder Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) denied each of the eight shots he faced in the period to keep Providence off the board.
Early in the second period, Providence leveled the score at 1-1 as Steven Shamanski fired a shot at a screened DeSmith and into the goal. Kevin Rooney played a pass to Steven McParland just inside the blueline. McParland fed the puck to Shamanski who in turn fired his shot into the net. The goal came at the 1:40 mark of the second stanza.
Noel Acciari gave the Friars a 2-1 lead exactly 11 minutes into the second period. Brooks Behling started the play as he intercepted a clearing attempt by the Wildcats and passed it to Nick Saracino. Saracino then sung the puck over to Acciari who was right in front of the crease and jammed the puck past DeSmith and into the net.
The Wildcats nearly put a second goal in the net with 5:37 left in the second period as Downing came blazing down the left wing of the ice and fired a shot at Gillies. The netminder made the initial save but could not control the rebound. Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) found the rebound and put it on net, but Gillies turned the second attempt aside.
With 2:35 left in the second period, Shane Luke gave the Friars a two-goal lead with a rebound attempt. Derek Army came down the right wing of the ice and fired a shot at the UNH net. DeSmith saved the first shot, but Luke found the rebound on the back door and put it away for the goal.
With two periods in the books, Providence held a 3-1 lead. The Wildcats remained resilient on offense in the frame, firing 11 shots at Gillies. The Friars sent 12 in the period at DeSmith. Casey Thrush (Easton, Md.) led the 'Cats in the second period with three shots while Downing notched two.
After going on an early power play just 2:30 into the third period, the Wildcats created stellar offensive opportunities, including a flurry of shots in the opening seconds of the advantage. On the same power play, senior captain Eric Knodel (West Chester, Pa.) cut the Friar lead to one goal with his third of the season. Downing got the play started as he dished the puck to Trevor van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J.) at the point. van Riemsdyk slid the puck to linemate Knodel on the left side of the ice. Knodel found the back of the net with a laser wrist shot, beating Gillies waist high.
Providence tallied its fourth goal of the night 12 seconds after the Wildcats pulled DeSmith for the extra skater at the 53 second mark. Ross Mauermann stole the puck in the Providence zone and fired a shot down the ice and into the net from the neutral zone for the goal.
DeSmith finished the game with 22 saves for the Wildcats as his record falls to 5-5-0. Gillies made 32 saves on the 34 shots faced to pick up the win for Providence. The Wildcats took advantage of power play opportunities, going 2-for-4 while holding the Friars scoreless on two chances.
New Hampshire now sits at 7-6-1 overall and 5-3-0 in Hockey East action while Providence improves to 10-2-1 on the year and to 6-2-0 in league play.
The Wildcats return home to host Harvard University on Tuesday, Nov. 26 for a night tilt (7 p.m.) before traveling to Colorado College for a pair of games later in the week. For more information on season ticket packages and individual tickets, call (603) 862-4000, extension 5, or click here. For more information on the UNH hockey program, visit www.unhwildcats.com or follow UNH athletics on Twitter (@UNHWildcats).