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Providence Athletics | March 30, 2019

College hockey: Providence scores six unanswered goals to down Minnesota State in East Regional semifinals

Providence defeats Minnesota State 6-3

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The fourth-seeded Providence College men's hockey team scored six unanswered goals to upend first-seeded Minnesota State in the NCAA East Regional Semifinal on Saturday, March 30 at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. Josh Wilkins and Tyce Thompson each had three-point performances to help the Friars battle back from an early 3-0 deficit.

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Providence had the game's first power-play chance, going on the man advantage just 1:50 into the game. Brian Lemos appeared a poke home a goal, but it was waved off because the referee had already blown the play dead. The Mavericks jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals 36 seconds apart. Charlie Gerard scored a rebound goal on a 2-on-1 rush and Jake Jeremko added a back-door tap in to build the lead 8:28 into the first period.

Nick Rivera extended the Mavericks' lead at the 11:08 mark, converting on a Friar turnover at the defensive blue line. His 10th goal of the season, which was unassisted, made it 3-0. Providence responded with a Josh Wilkins power-play goal at 13:12 of the first. Tic-tac-toe passing between Greg Printz, Tyce Thompson and Wilkins led to a one-time finish, which made it 3-1.

Minnesota State appeared to regain a three-goal lead with a power-play goal in the final minute of the period, but the goal was called back due to offsides. Vimal Sukumaran cut into the Mavericks' lead, scoring his sixth goal of the season just 4:37 into the second period. Ryan Tait slid the puck to Sukumaran on a rush in transition and he fired a shot over McKay's blocker to make it 3-2.

The Friars tied the game with 10:27 remaining in the second period. Jack Dugan played a pass from behind the net to Kasper Björkqvist, who was waiting on the doorstep for a tap-in. The goal was Björkqvist's 17th of the season and it was the Friars' second power-play goal of the afternoon.

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Jacob Bryson earned the secondary assist on Björkqvist's goal. He became the eighth Friar in the game to register a point. Providence had another power-play chance late in the period, as the Mavericks were called for too many men on the ice. The Friars only recorded one shot on goal and moved to 2-for-4 in the game on the power play.

Minnesota State's Connor Mackey was called for contact to the head and given a game misconduct at the 7:37 mark of the third. Providence capitalized on the five-minute man-advantage, scoring twice. Thompson and Wilkins each lit the lamp for the Friars, just 1:18 apart. The pair assisted each other's tallies and Brandon Duhaime earned helpers on both goals. The strikes for the Friars were nearly identical, but from opposite sides of the ice.

Jason O'Neill capped the Friars' scoring with an empty-net goal, his sixth strike of the season. His unassisted goal came with 2:10 left to play.

Hayden Hawkey finished with 31 saves for Providence, while Dryden McKay made 23 for Minnesota State. The Friars improved to 16-19 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and evened their record at 7-7 in the opening rounds.

The Friars advance to tomorrow's NCAA East Regional Final at 4:00 p.m. at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Providence awaits the winner of this evening's game between No. 5 Northeastern and No. 10 Cornell.

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