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College Hockey: Wildcats can't dig out of hole, fall to Friars
The University of New Hampshire dug itself a four-goal hole before the game was half over and battled back from there, but ended up losing a 6-5 shootout to Providence College on Saturday night in front of 5,147 at the Whittemore Center.
The Wildcats trailed 4-0 less than nine minutes into the second period.
"Falling behind 4-0 is not a way to go about playing," said UNH coach Dick Umile, who was not happy with the way his team got back and covered Friars, especially when they were on the rush.
"Any time you give a team a four-goal lead, even if you're home, it's pretty hard to come back," said junior Kevin Goumas.
The Wildcats gave it a shot.
Goumas scored a couple of goals, but the final one came with just 12.9 seconds left and marked the first time UNH had been within a goal since early in the second period
The win ended a long string of Friar frustration against the Wildcats.
The No. 3-ranked Wildcats fell to 14-5-4 overall and 9-4-1 in Hockey East. UNH held on to second place in the standings, but dropped four points behind Boston College.
Providence improved to 10-9-3 and 8-5-2 and moved into a third-place tie with Boston University and within a point of the Wildcats in the league standings.
UNH had beaten the Friars 10 straight times and was 15-0-2 against them since last losing, 7-1 at Providence on Feb. 24, 2007.
Providence won for the first time in Durham since March 12, 2004 (a 4-3 overtime decision in the middle game of a quarterfinal series won by UNH) and for the first time in the regular season in more than a decade. PC's last regular season win here came in a 4-3 triumph on Jan. 13, 2002.
Down 5-2 entering the third period, UNH's Dalton Speelman scored 2:53 into the period.
But Providence's Kyle Murphy got that one back less than a minute later and again it was a three-goal game.
It was the second time PC had quickly answered a UNH goal.
"We thought we had the momentum and they bounced right back and popped one in," said UNH senior John Henrion, who had a goal and an assist. "It was kind of deflating."
UNH sliced the lead to two goals again when Casey Thrush scored on a breakaway with 5:56 to go to make it 6-4.
Goumas scored the extra attacker goal, but that one came with just 12.9 seconds to go and did not leave enough time to get another.
The five goals were the most Providence goalie Jon Gillies, a 6-foot-5 freshman from South Portland, Maine who leads Hockey East in several statistical categories, had given up in a game all season.
"He's a good goaltender and he made some big saves early," Umile said. "We didn't do a good job helping our goaltenders and keeping (the Friars) from getting to the net."
Gillies finished with 37 saves.
Casey DeSmith, the UNH sophomore for Rochester, made 11 saves and was replaced in net by junior Jeff Wyer after Providence made it 4-0. Wyer made 10 saves
PC's Shane Luke scored the only goal of the first period, 5:23 into the period.
The Friars quickly upped the advantage to 4-0 with three goals in the first eight and a half minutes of the middle period.
Freshmen scored the first two goals. Brandon Tanev converted a pass from Luke for the first just 49 seconds into the period.
Nick Saracino charged down the left side and cut in front and beat DeSmith to make it 3-0 at 3:25. Derek Army blasted a power play shot from near the left faceoff circle for 4-0 at 8:29
That was it for DeSmith.
The Wildcats finally got a goal back with 9:08 left in the period on a Henrion shot from in close while the teams were skating four-on-four. The Friars answered that one a little more than a minute later on Army's second goal of the period.
The Wildcats weren't done yet. Goumas finished off a nice bit of passing with a backdoor goal to cut it to 5-2 with 2:57 left in the period.
They got closer, but not close enough, in the third.