LOWELL, Mass. — Boyd Ballard’s goaltending and Heath Gordon’s goal midway through the third period helped Providence escape with a 3-3 tie against UMass-Lowell on Saturday night at the Tsongas Arena.
Kyle Kidney scored two goals to pace Lowell, which improved to 12-10-3 (5-7-3 Hockey East). Providence fell to 13-7-4 (7-5-2 Hockey East).
Lowell improved to 4-1-3 in its last eight Hockey East games and 6-2-1 overall in its last nine games.
“Ballard won the game for us in the sense of a tie,” said Providence coach Paul Pooley, “I’m just happy that we came back to score in the third period.
“Lowell is a good hockey club and they deserved to win that game. Thank God we got a tie on the road.”
Both goalies were tested in the early minutes. Jimi St. John made a diving save on a Devin Rask chance and Ballard returned the favor by stoning Brad Rooney in front minutes later.
Lowell struck first in the game. After Jay Leach was called for high sticking, Lowell took advantage of a lucky bounce. Brad Rooney took a shot from the point that hit a Providence player’s skate and went between Ballard’s legs and into the net at 13:18 of the opening period. It was Rooney’s ninth goal and his first power-play goal of the season.
Providence answered quickly. Peter Zingoni broke in 2-on-1 and wristed home a shot just under St. John’s glove to tie the game at 1. Zingoni’s first collegiate goal came at the 14:47 mark of the first period.
Providence took the lead on the power play minutes later. Drew Omicioli picked up a loose puck in Lowell’s zone, turned and blasted a shot past St. John. Omicioli’s eighth goal of the season came with 58 seconds left in the first period.
Lowell came out strong in the early seconds of the second period. Kyle Kidney beat Ballard just under the crossbar 14 seconds into the period but the goal was waved off. The referee ruled that the net was dislodged before the puck went into the net.
Lowell kept up the pressure but Ballard shut the door. He ended the period with 10 saves on 11 opportunities.
After a 15-minute delay to replace a broken pane of glass, Lowell finally got to Ballard. Rooney stole a Providence clearing pass and fed Kidney, who beat a helpless Ballard to tie the game at 2.
Kidney’s seventh goal of the season came at 16:01 of the second period.
Early in the third period, Lowell kept up the pressure on Ballard. After a Providence penalty, Lowell had several chances on Ballard. The save of the night was made by Ballard after Ron Hainsey’s blast from the slot ended up in Ballard’s glove.
Providence was able to kill off the power play but Lowell took the lead seconds later. Geoff Schomogyi picked up a loose puck and fed Kidney, who beat Ballard for his second goal of the night and eighth of the season just 3:32 into the third period.
Lowell didn’t keep the lead for very long. Zingoni found a wide open Heath Gordon in front of the net to tie the score at 3. It was the first goal of the season for Gordon at the 10-minute mark of the third period.
“It was a bang-bang play,” Gordon said. “Drew made a nice play to keep it on the boards and fed it down low to Peter and he made a nice backdoor pass. I got it away quick. The goalie didn’t have a chance.”
Both teams had their chances in the last minutes of the game without success. Ballard and St. John kept the game deadlocked and the game went to overtime.
In the overtime session, Ballard saved the game for Providence. He stopped two breakaways by Lowell and kept the game tied. Meunier broke in and blasted a shot that Ballard kicked away. Kidney tried to finish off the night in style with the hat trick but was denied on a breakaway by Ballard.
“We got stronger as the game went out, ” said Lowell coach Tim Whitehead. “We are happy to take three out of four points over the weekend.”
Ballard finished the game with 31 saves while St. John only had to make 15 saves. Providence was able to extend its streak to 15 games without a loss when they score three or more goals in a game this year. They are 12-0-3 with at least three goals on the scoreboard.
Omicioli led the Providence attack with a goal and two assists.
Both teams return to Hockey East action on Friday night on the road in Boston. Providence is at Northeastern while Lowell plays at Boston College.