By Drew Davis
Providence, RI – Trailing by two goals with just one period left to play, No. 3 Miami scored on back-to-back power plays to erase the deficit off the sticks of leading scorers Blake Coleman and Riley Barber, but ultimately fell 3-2 to No. 8 Providence College in overtime while trying to kill off a two-man disadvantage. Junior captain Austin Czarnik assisted on both goals for the RedHawks (3-2-0) while freshman Niko Rufo scored the game-winner for the Friars (4-0-0) in the non-conference matchup.
Special teams were the key to the game as the teams combined for 20 penalties totaling 59 penalty minutes. Miami killed off the first eight penalties they faced, including a two-man disadvantage to close out the second period and start the third, but the ninth penalty proved to be the difference as Providence ended the deadlock in overtime while freshman Devin Loe served a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty called on sophomore defenseman Chris Joyaux late in the third. The RedHawks were 2-for-7 on the power play, including the first two power play goals the Friars have surrendered all season after starting the year 23-for-23.
Providence scored just 2:05 into the game when Steven McParland cleaned up a rebound in front of Miami sophomore goaltender Jay Williams. Kevin Rooney sent in the initial shot from the left circle that Williams stopped, but McParland muscled the rebound past him for the 1-0 Providence lead.
Mark Jankowski scored just 1:22 into the second period when he carried the puck in alone, skating through traffic and cutting across the front of the crease while Williams was screened for the 2-0 Friar lead.
Late in the second Miami found itself with four players crowding the penalty box after Coleman and sophomores Alex Gacek and Kevin Morris took penalties 50 seconds apart. Morris’ penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct resulted in a double minor, forcing the RedHawks to send another player to the box to serve the second part of the penalty. Miami killed off the extended two-man power play for Providence to close out the second period and into the beginning of the third.
The RedHawks then fought their way back, using a power play goal by Coleman to close to within 2-1 at 2:40 of the third period. The junior forward netted his fifth goal of the season to tie Barber for the team lead by creating traffic in front of Providence netminder Jon Gillies and redirecting a Czarnik shot into the net to cut the deficit to one goal.
Sophomore forward Barber reclaimed the team lead in goals with his sixth of the season at 7:08 of the third frame on a one-timer from Czarnik while on a 4-on-3 power play. Czarnik took a pass from fellow junior Alex Wideman on the left side, drew the defense to him, and then dished to Barber for the equalizer, making it 2-2.
Joyaux’s penalty came with 2:58 remaining in regulation when he was whistled for contact to the head and given a five-minute major. After a discussion among the officials, he was sent to the locker room for a game misconduct and Loe skated to the penalty box to serve the penalty. Joyaux will be eligible to play again on Saturday as a game misconduct does not result in an additional suspension.
With just 23 seconds to play in regulation, freshman defenseman Trevor Hamilton was called for an elbowing penalty, putting Miami down two men for the second time in the game on a penalty that lasted the remainder of the third period and into the overtime frame.
Just one second before Hamilton’s penalty had expired, Providence moved the puck into the offensive zone and Rufo sent in sharp-angled shot from Williams’ left side that found its way into the net for the game-winning, 5-on-3 power play goal at 1:38 of the overtime period.
Williams made 35 saves on 38 shots-faced while his counterpart, Gillies stopped 33 of the 35 shots he saw. Miami was called for 12 penalties for 43 minutes while Providence served 16 minutes on eight penalties. The Friars also benefited from excellent work on faceoffs, winning 48 draws to the RedHawks’ 30.