PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Three third period goals propelled Providence College to a 4-2 come-from-behind victory over Merrimack College in front of 2,978 fans at Schneider Arena last night.
Freshman Conor MacPhee of Windham netted the equalizer 6:49 into the third.
It was only Merrimack’s third loss since 2010 when leading after two periods; the Warriors were 43-2-4 over that span including dropping a 2012 game to Union and a loss to Notre Dame in the 2011 NCAA tournament.
“Both (Friday) night and (last night) felt a lot like playoff hockey,” Providence head coach Nate Leaman said. “It was very physical and I have a lot of respect for (Merrimack) and the way they play. We got a lot better this weekend playing them.”
Connor Toomey got on the board first for the Warriors 13 minutes into the opening period, batting a puck in the air past Providence’s Jon Gillies (31 saves).
In the second period Calgary Flames first-round draft choice Mark Jankowski buried his fifth goal of the season past Merrimack netminder Rasmus Tirronen (30 saves) on the power play. Just under eight minutes later, Chris LeBlanc scored his first collegiate goal, also on the power play, to give the Warriors the lead back at 2-1.
Merrimack also killed a five-minute major in the second period after Kyle Singleton was whistled for hitting from behind. They did surrender a goal, but it came on a 5-on-3 just seconds into the major penalty.
“I thought we played well,” Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy said. “I’m not sure what the shots were but we had them hemmed in for large stretches of the game and even in the third period we had chances. I thought we did some good things tonight.”
MacPhee, a former Eagle-Tribune All-Star at Central Catholic, again brought the game to a tie at the 6:49 of the third period, beating Tirronen to the far post on a wraparound after snatching a loose puck on the end boards. Shane Luke then scored the game-winner on a breakaway after a bouncing puck jumped the stick of Justin Mansfield in the neutral zone.
“That really got the crowd into it for us,” Leaman said. “You saw it in the third period, and at the end of the second, those teams were tired. Both teams were tired, you saw them dragging on line changes and it was a case where if you were able to get to the red line you were going to have some possession. But we score that goal and the building wakes up and that definitely gives us some energy.”
Jankowski added an empty-netter with just under a minute remaining.
Merrimack will travel to Notre Dame next weekend as the Irish will play their first two home Hockey East games. It will be the first time the Warriors have faced them since the 2011 NCAA tournament, when Notre Dame ousted the Warriors in overtime.
No. 5 Providence 4, Merrimack 2
at Schneider Arena, Providence College
Merrimack College (3-5-0, 0-2-0 HE): 1-1-0—2
Providence College (7-1-1, 3-1-0 HE): 0-1-3—4
First Period: 1. MC Connor Toomey 1 (John Gustafsson), ev, 13:00.
Second Period: 2. PC Mark Jankowski 5 (Derek Army, Anthony Florentino), ppg, 5:59; 3. MC Chris LeBlanc 1 (Hampus Gustafsson, Mike Collins), ppg, 11:53.
Third Period: 4. PC Conor MacPhee 2 (unassisted), evg, 6:49; 5. PC Luke Shane 3 (Ross Mauermann, Anthony Florentino), ev, 12:49; 6. PC Mark Jankowski 6 (Steve McParland, John Gilmous), eng, 19:02.
Shots: Merrimack 13-9-11–33; Providence 13-10-11–34
Saves: MC Tirronen 33 shots, 30 saves; PC Gillies 33 shots, 31 saves
Power Play: Merrimack 1 for 4; Providence 1 for 4
Penalties: Merrimack 5-21; Providence 4-8
Faceoffs: 38-35 Providence
Next: at Notre Dame Friday, 8 p.m.