Friday night’s game between Providence and Mainewas scoreless into overtime before Providence won it. In Saturday’s rematch, the offenses showed up as both teams lit the lamp twice in the opening frame.
Providence added one in the second and another in the third for a 4-2 victory at the Alfond Arena.
The game-winner came with 5:11 gone in the middle frame, as Brian Pinho was left all alone on the left of the crease for an easy tap-in. Last night’s hero, Nick Saracino, might have scored, but he passed up his chance in order to feed Pinho with a saucer across the goalmouth.
When a goalie surrenders four goals, it is difficult to say he is a hard-luck loser, but after 50 saves last night and another 34 tonight, Matt Morris has a case to sue his defense for lack of support.
The fourth Friars goal was a microcosm of Maine’s entire season. A defensive turnover deep in the zone left Mark Jankowski all alone with Morris. Morris stopped him, then Erik Foley on the rebound before the puck took a weird ricochet off Trevor Mingoia and over Morris’ shoulder into the net.
“As has been the case all year, it comes down to a very fine line and we have to do a little bit more, execute a little bit better,” said Maine coach Red Gendron. “We don’t ever accept any result but victory.”
Foley opened the scoring just 2:57 into the game when he converted an early power play into his fifth goal of the season.
“It was much looser tonight,” said Friars coach Nick Leaman after last night went 62:13 seconds without a goal. “It was great to score early. This is a tough environment. The number one team in the country came up here and couldn’t win.”
Nick Ellis was outstanding in net, making 32 saves and stopping Maine on two breakaways with the score still 3-2.
Maine freshman Brendan Robbins had already scored once when he found himself breaking in from the blue line on Ellis.
“It all happened so fast, I don’t even know what I was thinking, I just reacted,” said Ellis. Robbins made a move, but the puck trickled off his stick and Ellis turned it aside easily.
Robbins remembered, “I had him beat, the puck just slipped off my stick.”
In the third period, Andrew Tegeler broke down the left boards and beat his defenseman to the puck, then streaked for the net.
“I was sure he was going to try to cut across the crease, but he decided to deke and go upstairs. Luckily my glove was right there,” commented a smiling Ellis.