Friar Hockey falls to Union in Regional Finals, 3-1
Saturday, March 29, 2014
It was close. Very close.
But in the end, the 3rd seeded Providence College hockey team fell to top-seeded Union 3-1 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT Saturday afternoon in the East Regional Finals, and Union advances to the Frozen Four in Philadelphia, PA April 10-12.
Union's Dutchmen took an early 1-0 lead at 2:42 of the first period off of a slap-shot taken by Mat Bodie. Daniel Carr fed Bodie a cross-ice pass and Bodie finished from just outside the circle high past PC goalie Jon Gillies.
Union extended the lead to 2-0 just 58 seconds into the second period. Kevin Sullivan walked out of the corner and placed a backhand shot on net with Max Novak crashing the net and pushing the puck past past Gillies for the score, giving the Friars a real challenge with more than half of the game remaining.
7:14 into the 2nd period, sophomore Steven McParland broke free from a Union defender to find himself on a breakaway against Dutchman goaltender Colin Stevens, who was strong throughout the game and saved McParland's backhand attempt.
Providence continued to battle as Conor MacPhee and Mark Jankowski teamed up for another chance for the Friars near the end of the second period. MacPhee rolled out of the corner and fired a shot on net for Jankowski to collect the rebound and rip at Stevens, who was able to get a shoulder on the puck and keep the score 2-0 in favor of Union.
At the end of two periods, Gillies had 20 saves for Providence, while Stevens stopped all 14 of the Friars' shots for Union.
PC continued to put the pressure on for most of the third period and eventually scored with 5:05 left to cut the Dutchmen lead to 2-1. Sophomore Tom Parisi started the play as he took a hit along the wall to keep the puck in the offensive zone for the Friars. Parisi tipped the puck to Nick Saracino, who fired a shot that Stevens could not clearly control. Junior Ross Mauermann found the rebound in front and fired a shot that bounced back out for Saracino to put home for his 10th goal of the season.
But less than two minutes later, the Dutchmen reclaimed their two-goal lead with a one-timer from Matt Hatch. Novak made his way out from behind the Friars' net to find Hatch alone in front of Gillies. Providence outshot Union 12-9 in the 3rd period, but couldn't put more than one in the net.
For the Friars, who end their season 22-11-6 overall, it was their first NCAA appearance since 2001, and their 4-0 win over Quinnipiac Friday night was the first tournament win since 1991 - ironically, Union head coach Rick Bennett was a member of the last PC squad to win an NCAA game. The NCAA appearance is the 10th overall for the Friar program, with an all-time record of 10-16 in NCAA play. The 22 wins are tied for 3rd-most in program history.
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