PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The No. 3 ranked University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team was defeated by Providence College, 7-1 on Saturday night in front of 2,543 fans at Schneider Arena.

With the loss, UNH drops to 23-7-2 overall and 18-5-2 in Hockey East play, while Providence improves its record to 8-21-3 overall (7-15-3 HE) with the victory. UNH has won the Hockey East regular-season championship outright with the Vermont win over Boston University tonight, 3-2 at Agganis Arena. The Wildcats have won two other regular-season championships (98-99, 01-02) and have shared the title on two other occasions (96-97, 02-03).

Providence scored first at the 13:55 mark of the opening period on a power-play goal by New Hampshire native Jon Rheault, his 10th goal of the season. Rheault beat Regan. Rheault then extended the lead to 2-0 at the 10 minute mark for his third two-goal game of the season. He finished the game with a career-high four points (2g, 2a).

Colin McDonald gave PC a three-goal first period lead at the 3:07 mark of the opening period with a slapshot blast from the slot on the power play. With 1:25 left in the period Jerry Pollastrone (Revere, Mass.) had UNH’s best chance of the period to score, but Mannix came out and poked the puck off of Pollastrone’s stick and then the puck sailed wide of the net.

Pollastrone got the Wildcats on the board with 4:52 left in the second period scoring his ninth goal of the season. Junior forward Matt Fornataro (Calgary, Alberta) earned an assist on the goal for his 36th point of the season. PC scored with 25 seconds left in the period to make it a 6-1 game with a goal by Mark Fayne. Nick Mazzoleni gave the Friars a six-goal lead at 7-1 23 seconds into the final period.

Junior netminder Kevin Regan (South Boston, Mass.) made only 10 saves in 20 minutes of action in his 70th collegiate start, while sophomore Chris Mannix stopped xx shots by the Wildcats in his first career start for the Friars picking up his second career win. Freshman Brian Foster (Pembroke, N.H.) started the second period in net for the Wildcats and allowed a power-play goal only 39 seconds into the period by Chase Watson to make the game 4-0. Foster allowed four goals and made 34 saves, one short of a career-high in 40 minutes of action.

PC added another goal to make it 5-0 at 5:54 on a score by Matt Taormina. The Friars outshot UNH, 24-8 in the second frame and 51-22 for the game.

UNH returns to action for the regular-season home finale on Friday, March 2 vs. Boston College. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the Whittemore Center. The game will be televised live by the New England Sports Network (NESN). The team will honor its five-player class in a pre-game ceremony on Senior Night.

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