DURHAM, N.H. — Sean Collins scored two goals to propel 10th-ranked New Hampshire to Thursday night’s 2-1 victory against Providence in the first game of a best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series.
Fourth-seeded UNH (19-12-6) and fifth-seeded Providence (15-13-7) resume the series March 12 at the Whittemore Center. Game 3, if necessary, also will be played at the Whittemore Center. Both games are at 7 p.m.
With the game tied 1-1 through two periods, Collins gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead at 7:12 when he redirected a Steve Saviano pass from the right circle into the open left side of the net. It was one of two Saviano assists in the game.
Both teams were whistled for a penalty with 47 seconds remaining and, following a PC timeout, the Friars pulled goaltender Bobby Goepfert in favor of an extra skater. Providence initially kept the puck in the offensive zone but did not gain possession and never got a shot on goal the rest of the way.
UNH goaltender Mike Ayers made 19 saves, while PC’s Goepfert stopped 27 shots.
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on Collins’ first goal of the night at 7:52. Saviano centered the puck from the right circle and Collins’ wrist shot from between the faceoff hashmarks sailed under the crossbar. Mick Mounsey recorded an assist on the play.
Providence tied the game at 16:31 of the second period on a power-play goal by Cody Loughlean, who was standing in front of the net and tipped in Stephen Wood’s slap shot from the high slot. James Pemberton set up the tally with a pass from the right point.