By Drew Davis
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – For the second-straight night, No. 3 Miami erased a two-goal deficit, this time on three separate occasions, to force overtime and skated to a 4-4 tie with No. 8 Providence College Saturday night at Schneider Arena. Just a night after falling in overtime despite battling back from two goals down, the RedHawks (3-2-1) again needed a third period rally to force extra time against Hockey East’s Friars (4-0-1) as the two evenly-matched teams have played to a 1-1-2 record in four-straight overtime games dating back to last season. Last Oct. 19-20 in Oxford, Miami and Providence played to a 1-1 tie on Friday night before the RedHawks took a 4-3 win in overtime in the Saturday night game.
Despite drastically reducing the number of penalties from the previous night, special teams again played a major role in the game for both sides as five of the combined eight goals were scored with a man in the penalty box. After serving 43 minutes on 12 penalties on Friday night, Miami was called for just four penalties for eight minutes on Saturday. Providence, meanwhile, cut its penalties to six from eight the night before. The RedHawks scored twice on the power play and once short-handed, their second of the season, while the Friars went 2-for-3 with the man-advantage.
Miami sophomore forward Riley Barber scored twice and added an assist bringing his season totals to eight goals and 12 points, both of which lead the nation. His linemate, junior captain Austin Czarnik assisted on three goals for his third multi-assist game of the season. Czarnik trails only Barber nationally in points with 11.
In the wild, high-scoring first period, Providence tallied a pair of goals separated by 27 second, starting with their first at 8:58 of the opening frame. Both goals were scored even strength as the Friars opened up a 2-0 lead and junior forward Alex Wideman was whistled for an interference penalty during the second goal. The goals came less than a minute after Providence goaltender Jon Gillies robbed the Red and White’s Sean Kuraly when Gillies dove backwards, stopping the puck just in front of the goal line after it Kuraly had tipped it past him.
Miami quickly responded 15 seconds after the second goal at 9:40 of the first despite being down a man when Czarnik stole the puck deep in the offensive zone behind the Providence net and found Barber open in the left circle where wristed it past Gillies to cut the Providence lead to 2-1 on his second shorty of the season.
Just 44 seconds later the Friars regained the two-goal advantage with a power play goal just before Wideman’s penalty expired to go up, 3-1.
Scoring was not finished in the first until 33 seconds were left on the clock when Wideman lit the lamp for his second goal of the year. Czarnik, playing the point on the 5-on-3 power play, passed across to Barber who faked a one-timer but instead passed low to Wideman at the right post. Wideman settled it and quickly sent it into the net to make it 3-2, Providence.
The Friars scored early in the second period on a power play shot through traffic off the stick of Kevin Hart from the right point to put Providence ahead by two goals for the third time of the night at 4-2.
Late in the second frame Miami killed off a penalty, the team’s first successful kill of the game after the Friars had been 2-for-2 on the man-advantage. Just 15 seconds after the penalty expired, junior forward Blake Coleman worked the puck behind the net in the offensive zone. He sent a pass out front to senior forward Bryon Paulazzo who was tied up and being hauled down in front of the net. Paulazzo outworked the defenseman and got his stick on the puck with just enough behind it to beat Gillies and pull the RedHawks back to within one at 4-3, Providence.
With a Friar in the penalty box early in the third period, Miami again found success on the power play at 4:53 of the third. After an attempted clear, sophomore defenseman Matt Caito kept the puck in the zone and fed it to Czarnik at the left point. Czarnik sent it into the left circle to Barber who skated all the way to the right circle, behind the net and back to where he started before cutting across the high slot and firing a wrister just inside the right post for the equalizer.
The RedHawks outshot Providence 3-1 in the extra period, but couldn’t get another shot past Gillies as the teams skated to the draw.
Miami led in total shots in the game by a 41-28 margin and finished 2-for-5 on the power play, but went 1-for-3 on the penalty kill. Sophomore goaltender Ryan McKay made 24 saves for the RedHawks while Gillies stopped 37 shots.
Miami returns home next weekend to host Canisius at Steve Cady Arena on Nov. 1-2. Friday’s game starts at 7:35 p.m.