PROVIDENCE, R.I. — History was made Saturday night at Schneider Arena, something to remember for visiting Holy Cross and something to quickly forget for host Providence College.
Dale Reinhardt’s power play goal 2:52 into the third period snapped the third tie of the night and Peter Lorinser added an empty-netter as the final buzzer sounded to give the Crusaders an unlikely 6-4 win, the first in school history against the Friars after six straight losses.
Holy Cross was able to gather its composure after coughing up leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 4-3, something the Crusaders did not do in their season-opening 6-2 loss to Niagara. In that game, Holy Cross led 2-0 after one period before imploding, giving up four goals in the third period, and history threatened to repeat itself when the Friars scored four times in the second period Saturday night during their furious comeback attempt.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys this year (seven freshmen and five sophomores dressed on Saturday), and I think we learned a big lesson our first game,” Reinhardt said. “We got up two goals and a lot of guys got cocky and thought it was going to be easy. I think today we put that to work and realized that if we’re up two goals it’s not going to be easy.”
Providence suffered through its second straight empty weekend despite two goals from captain Kyle Laughlin and a goal and an assist from North Kingstown, R.I. native Eric Baier. The Friars simply couldn’t overcome three power play goals by Holy Cross and another night of playing catch-up throughout.
“I’m disappointed,” Providence head coach Tim Army said. “We’re 0-4; I don’t want to be 0-4.”
Reinhardt found some room to operate in the slot and tipped home a shot from the right point by Mark Znutas early in the third, snapping a 4-4 tie and allowing Crusaders’ goalie Ian Dams to even his career mark at 9-9 in his first start of the season. The sophomore rebounded from a shaky second period to stop all 12 shots he faced in the third.
Holy Cross looked to be in trouble after the Friars’ explosive middle period. The Friars scored four times in the opening 15:41, three coming on the power play. Laughlin’s second goal of the game sent the two teams to the dressing rooms on level terms when he followed up Pierce Norton’s breakaway miss by sliding the rebound past Dams.
“We just needed to compete,” Army said. “I didn’t think we played hard enough (in the first period). We might have been a little leg-weary from last night’s game (a 3-2 overtime loss at Northeastern), but I didn’t think we competed hard enough as a group.”
Providence’s struggles on the power play were well-documented last season; the Friars converted just 16 of their 173 chances for a 9.2 percent success rate. They started this year 0-for-13, including three failed attempts in the opening period on Saturday, before exploding in the second. Laughlin batted Matt Taormina’s deflected shot past Dams at 2:53 and Baier, a freshman defenseman, notched the first of his career at 5:29 by drilling a slap shot from the left circle inside the right post.
“That was a positive,” Army said. “We made an adjustment. We got Kyle Laughlin out there and we got John Mori out there who tracks some pucks. We got Jon Rheault more touches on the puck and I think that helped.”
Rheault added his first of the year at 11:03 after Greg Collins dug out a loose puck at the right post and Laughlin’s goal just under five minutes later gave Providence its first four-goal period in almost two years, the last coming in the first period of a 7-1 win over Colgate in the Providence College Holiday Hockey Classic on Dec. 21, 2005.
The Crusaders made the most of an extended power play early in the game, scoring twice after Providence’s Ben Farrer received a five-minute major for hitting from behind and a game misconduct just 2:45 in. Ryan Driscoll notched two goals on a single shift, the first coming on a five-on-three with Friars’ defenseman Trevor Ludwig in the box for elbowing. Driscoll swatted home his second of the season 32 seconds later when he pounced on a loose puck in the slot.
“It was big coming off last week,” Reinhardt said. “Mentally, some guys may not have been in the right state of mind the way last week ended. It was great to get a lead. Ryan picked us up.”