DURHAM, N.H. – Paul Thompson (Derry, N.H.) scored with 46 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the seventh-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team to Friday night's 4-3 Hockey East victory against Providence College at the Whittemore Center.
UNH won its seventh consecutive league game to remain atop the Hockey East standings with an 11-1-2 record. The Wildcats, unbeaten in 27 straight conference home games (20-0-7), are now 13-4-4 overall. PC, 0-10-2 in the last 12 games against the 'Cats, lost its fourth consecutive game to fall to 7-10-5 overall and 3-8-4 in Hockey East.
With the score tied 3-3 in the extra session, Mike Sislo (Superior, Wis.) fired a slapshot from the left point that ricocheted off Thompson in the low slot into the net to end the game at 4:14. Blake Kessel (Verona, Wis.), with the initial pass from the right point to Sislo, was also credited with an assist.
UNH goaltender Matt DiGirolamo (Ambler, Pa.) made 22 saves, including one in OT. Providence counterpart Alex Beaudry stopped 31 shots, including 12 in both the second and third periods as well as one in overtime.
The Wildcats trailed by three goals 16 seconds into the second stanza and by a 3-1 score at the start of the third period. Nick Sorkin (Rockville, Md.) pulled New Hampshire within one goal, 3-2, at 2:48 when his wide shot from the right circle caromed off a PC skater into the cage. Brett Kostolansky (Denver, Colo.) and Dalton Speelman (San Jose, Calif.) set up the tally.
UNH, which recorded a 14-8 shot advantage in the third period, continued to pressure and tied the score, 3-3, at 13:27. Kevin Goumas (Lake Worth, Fla.) won possession at the left point and moved the puck to Jeff Silengo (Madison, Conn.) in the near circle. Silengo quickly centered the puck to the high slot, where Kostolansky blasted a slap shot wide right of the cage. Silengo collected the rebound off the end boards in the right circle and beat Beaudry near-side.
Providence netted power-play goals 46 seconds apart in the first period to build a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes. The Wildcats were whistled for a minor infraction at 8:47 and Matt Germain (two goals, assist) scored 10 seconds later on a shot from the right point that sailed into the upper-right corner. Eric Baier set up the goal.
UNH went back to the penalty box at 9:10 – just 13 seconds later -- and Kyle MacKinnon gave the Friars a 2-0 lead at 9:43 when he beat DiGirolamo on a shot from the slot. Derek Army, with the centering pass from behind the right post, and Germain were credited with assists.
Both teams opened the second stanza with a skater in the penalty box and PC netted a 4-on-4 goal 16 seconds after the opening faceoff. Germain gave the Friars a 3-0 lead when he gained possession on the left boards, maneuvered to the slot and wristed a shot into the upper-left corner.
The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to 3-1 with a 4-on-4 goal at 2:50. Mike Borisenok (Watervliet, N.Y.) slid the puck from the left circle down low to Stevie Moses (Leominster, Mass.), who collected the pass with his back to the net, circled counterclockwise to face up against Beaudry and deposited the puck into the cage.
UNH went on its third power play opportunity of the game at 6:34 of the second period and sustained pressure in the offensive zone to generate two shots on goal, as well as three back-door plays in which the intended target couldn't redirect the pass. The Friars went on a fourth penalty kill at 17:20 and did not allow a shot on goal.
The Wildcats have a 2-1-4 overtime record this season.
UNH returns to action Jan. 22 at home against 15th-ranked Boston University. The game, which will be broadcast live on NESN, begins at 7 p.m.