College Hockey:
Friars Take Title In Own Holiday Tournament

Gajda Named Tourney MVP

— Providence recorded its fifth consecutive victory, defeating Sacred Heart, 5-2, in the championship game of the Providence College Holiday Classic on Thursday, December 22 at Schneider Arena.

The Holiday Classic title marked the first time the Friars have won an in-season tournament since the 1999 RPI Tournament. PC’s fifth straight win also marks the team’s longest winning streak since the 2002-03 season.

The Friars (11-6-1) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as freshman Matt Taormina scored his first collegiate goal just 18 seconds into the first period. Junior Chase Watson streaked down the right side and slid the puck to Taormina, whose wrist shot beat Sacred Heart goalie Drew Stefan from in close.

However, the Pioneers (9-7-1), who outshot the Friars, 11-3, in the opening period, tied the game at 14:08 when senior Erik Roos took advantage of a PC turnover and fired a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that beat PC goalie Tyler Sims.

In the second period, the Friars struck quickly again as junior Jamie Carroll scored on the power play to give the Friars a 2-1 lead just 37 seconds into the period.

The Friars increased their lead to 3-1 as freshman Brad Cooper scored on the power play. The goal, scored at 12:36, was the first of Cooper’s collegiate career.

The Friars extended to a comfortable 4-1 lead at 2:06 of the third period as senior Nate Meyers scored off a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle.

Sacred Heart cut the lead to 4-2 when senior Chris Connerty’s shot from the slot beat Sims at 4:33. However, PC senior James Pemberton sealed the win as he scored PC’s third power-play goal of the night at 12:39.

Stefan made 31 saves for the Friars, while Sims, who made the All-Tournament Team, stopped 23 shots.

In addition to Sims, the All-Tournament team featured PC’s Torry Gajda, Chase Watson and Cody Wild as well as Sacred Heart’s Pierre-Luc O’Brien and Kalen Wright. Gajda, who recorded one goal and four assists, was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

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