LOWELL, Mass. — Freshman goaltender, Jon Gillies stopped all 31 shots fired at him, leading his Providence College Friars to the 3-0 shutout victory over UMass-Lowell on Friday night. For only the third time this season, Connor Hellebuyck gave up three goals on his way to his second loss this season and his first since Oct. 19, 2012. The Friars win puts them in a two-way tie for first place in the Hockey East standings with these same River Hawks. Whichever team wins Saturday night’s game, wins the regular season title and will be the first for either team.
Providence sophomore, Ross Mauermann tallied a period only goal at 12:50, putting the Friars up, 1-0. Having the lead heading into the second period has been winning trend for the Friars. Providence was 10-1-4 in this situation, however the River Hawks had won three straight contests when trailing after one.
Mark Jankowski fired a slap shot from just above the left circle, which Hellebuyck deflected to the stick of Kevin Hart, who netted the games second goal and putting the Friars up with 13:44 remaining in the second period, 2-0. UMass-Lowell forward, Scott Wilson was slashed by Steven Shemanski, while on a breakaway, giving the River Hawks a 5-on-3 opportunity at 10:13. UMass-Lowell was unable to convert on the power play, which the team wasn’t able to do all night, going 0-for-5.
Although the River Hawks were able to get five Grade-A chances off against Providence’s outstanding rookie goaltender, the River Hawks were unable to convert. Tom Parisi put the game away for the Friars with a third period goal at 5:49, which in the end sealed the deal for Providence, 3-0.
The River Hawks didn’t come out fast, strong and physical against the Friars, which has been a key success to the teams recent winning ways. Coming into tonight the River Hawks were 17-2-1 in the teams last 20 games.
The Friars managed to block 19 shots on the night, while Gillies stood on his head in net. With the win, the season series moves to 1-1-0.
Providence and UMass-Lowell will not only be fighting for the season series on Saturday night, but the regular season title as well. Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. at Schneider Arena in Providence, R.I.
Justin Soderberg is a Hockey East writer for InsideHockey.com. Follow him on Twitter, ‘Like’ him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. In addition, Justin covers the UMass-Lowell River Hawks at viewfrom123.com.