DURHAM, N.H. — For the first time in months, New Hampshire coach Dick Umile put together the sophomore line of Austin Block centering John Henrion and Dalton Speelman.
For the first time in months, the Wildcats got major contributions from the third line.
All three forwards on that line scored a goal and the trio led No. 7 New Hampshire to a 5-1 win over Providence College to sweep the season series 3-0 over the Friars.
“They played really well tonight,” UNH forward Paul Thompson said. “They kind of got split up earlier this season, but I think they were excited to get back to playing together again. They showed that they chemistry.”
After the Friars (7-12-5) knotted the game at 1-1 59 seconds into the second period, the Wildcats took control, netting four second period goals in a matter of nine minutes.
An interference call on Ben Farrer coupled with a bench penalty gave UNH (15-5-4) a five-on-three for two minutes, igniting the flury.
“I put us in hole by taking that bench minor,” Providence coach Tim Army said. “It’s an even game at that point and I put us in a hole and they scored on us and it rattled us. We did a lot of good things, but putting us down five-on-three wasn’t good.”
Thompson was the benefactor of the penalties and started the scoring frenzy 24 seconds into the five-on-three when he banged home a Mike Sislo pass at the doorstep.
Block gave New Hampshire a two-goal lead with a hard-work goal three minutes later, banging in his own rebound as he was checked from behind. Linemate Henrion picked up the primary assist.
“They line played well for us earlier (this season),” Umile said. “And they played well tonight.”
Fellow sophomore Greg Burke over-powered a Providence defender, cutting to the net in traffic, before beating Beaudry five-hole to balloon the lead to 4-1 and Henion scored on a wraparound that bounced off of Beaudry’s right leg pad and into the net to give New Hampshire the 5-1 lead.
“They got a couple squeaky ones,” Army said. “But those are still goals.”
Kyle MacKinnon gave Providence a spark 59 seconds into the second period, beating Matt DiGirolamo five-hole and knotting the game at 1-1.
It was DiGirolamo’s only blemish on an otherwise perfect and busy night between the pipes.
The 5-foot-10 junior stopped 37 shots to pick up his 15th win of the season.
“I can’t think of any other ones where they beat him,” Thompson said. “He was on his game. He has been all year.”
Both teams had chances on the power play after each was called for eight penalties, but the teams combined to go 2-for-12 on the man advantage.
Speelman got the scoring started midway through the first period with a power-play goal in front of the net that trickled past Alex Beaudry (26 saves).
“We played well tonight,” Umile said. “It was a good win for us and a good weekend.”