No. 12 UNH men’s hockey outlasts, ousts Providence, 2-1

Winnik scores game-winning goal in double overtime

Daniel Winnik

DURHAM, N.H. - Daniel Winnik (Mississauga, Ontario) scored the game-winning goal at 14:18 of double overtime to propel the 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Friday night's 2-1 victory in Game 2 of the best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series against Providence College at the Whittemore Center. UNH, a 4-0 winner on Thursday, swept the series to advance to the Hockey East semifinals for the fifth consecutive year.

UNH, now unbeaten in six straight games (4-0-2), reached the 20-win mark for the 10th consecutive year by improving to 20-11-7. Providence's season ends at 17-16-3.

Winnik gained possession deep in the right circle, stickhandled to the low slot and lifted a shot into the upper-left corner of the net to end the game after 94:18 of playing time. Chris Murray (Dover, Mass.) set up the tally.

UNH goaltender Jeff Pietrasiak (Shrewsbury, Mass.) finished with 34 saves, including five in both overtime periods. PC's Tyler Sims stopped a total of 59 shots, including 15 in the first OT and 11 in the second.

Following a scoreless first period in which UNH recorded a 12-8 shot advantage, both teams netted a power-play goal in the middle stanza to skate to a 1-1 tie through 40 minutes.

Providence took a 1-0 lead at 3:20 when Pietrasiak stopped the initial shot by Nick Mazzolini at the right post, but the rebound went to the top of the crease and Colin McDonald jammed the puck into the net. Jamie Carroll was also credited with an assist.

New Hampshire tied the score at 10:24 on a tally by Jacob Micflikier (Winnipeg, Manitoba) when Brett Hemingway's (Surrey, B.C.) centering pass from behind the left post hit Micflikier. The puck dropped in front and Micflikier swiped the puck into the net before Sims could get in position off the left post. Brian Yandle (Milton, Mass.), with the pass down low to Hemingway from the left point, set up the goal.

The teams skated to a scoreless third period in which UNH generated an 11-8 shot advantage. Winnik had a quality scoring chance in the opening minutes, but Sims made a left leg-pad save to deny him at the low slot. The closing minute of the period featured dangerous scoring opportunities at both ends of the ice.

PC's Jon Rheault fired a shot from the left circle that was stopped by Pietrasiak and Cody Wild, positioned in the slot, followed the rebound with a shot wide of the right post. UNH quickly countered and Hemingway's low shot from the slot sailed wide of the left post. The Wildcats went on the power play with 25.9 seconds remaining in regulation and, off the ensuing faceoff at the right circle, Yandle's blast from the right point was stopped by Sims and Hemingway's shot off the rebound from the low slot was blocked by the PC defense.

The power play carried into the first overtime session but the 'Cats did not record another shot on goal with the skater advantage. Micflikier was stopped at the left post 8:40 into the extra session and PC's Trevor Ludwig was stoned at the right post by Pietrasiak on a breakaway 16:00 into OT. The Friars were caught in a line change with 2:30 to play in the first overtime session, but Sims stopped Trevor Smith's (North Vancouver, B.C.) blast from the left circle.

New Hampshire came out strong at the start of the second overtime as Yandle and Micflikier were denied by Sims and both Micflikier and Brad Flashains (Glendale, Ariz.) fired shots just wide of the net in the opening two minutes.

Midway through the second OT, Providence came close to forcing a decisive third game but Pietrasiak denied Pierce Norton twice from point-blank range and Norton's third shot sailed high over the crossbar.

UNH, which will have to wait for the completion of the other three quarterfinal series to determine its March 17 semifinal opponent at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, won the tournament title in 2002 and 2003, lost in the 2004 semis and finished as runner-up last year.

The Wildcats improved to 2-1 in Hockey East quarterfinal games decided in double overtime. UNH lost 3-2 at Maine in 1998 and defeated Boston College 6-5 at home in 1994.

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