UNH Downs #14 Providence: Goal-by-Goal
DURHAM, NH - In the Coaches Preseason Poll, Providence College was chosen to win the Hockey East Association title. As the Friars returned to the Whittemore Center on Tuesday, they were ranked #14 in the nation and sported a record of 14-7-1. The game was originally scheduled for November 21st but was postponed shortly before the teams were set to warm up due to a leak in the ice-making system underneath the UNH net.
The Tuesday night matchup will be remembered as freshman goalie Danny Tirone's debut at the Whittemore Center. Tirone recently enrolled at UNH for the second semester and made his first start on New Year's Eve against the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In that game out in the midwest, Tirone made 24 saves as the Wildcats downed the Mavericks 6-2.
UNH now has a potentially formidable tandem of freshman goalies in Tirone and Adam Clark. Last Friday, Clark backstopped a 2-2 tie with Dartmouth College. After the game, Coach Dick Umile said “I thought Adam Clark played great. He made some huge saves, early on when we weren’t doing anything.” Clark has started in in 18 out of UNH's 20 games this season. On Tuesday, Tirone was up against one of the premiere goalies in Division I hockey, Providence's Jon Gillies. Tirone held his own making 30 saves en route to a 2-1 UNH victory.
In an article posted earlier on game day, Jeff Cox of SB Nation College Hockey recognized Senior Alternate Captain Grayson Downing as one of the "hot players" in Hockey East. Downing's play has now reached the "very hot" level. He scored both of UNH's goals against Providence extending his goal-scoring streak to 8 goals in the last 5 games. Downing is now tied for 3rd in goals among Hockey East players with 12.
Goal-by-Goal BreakdownPERIOD 1
Grayson Downing-11 (Assisted by Tyler Kelleher-12)
4:09 of 1st Period - UNH 1, Providence 0
~ Sophomore Tyler Kelleher lead his linemates Grayson Downing and Casey Thrush on a 3-on-1 break through the neutral zone. As he reached the top of the face off circle to the right of Providence goalie Jon Gillies, Kelleher flipped a backhand pass onto the tape of Grayson Downing's stick.
~ Downing leaned back slightly and lifted a backhander over Gillies' glove. It was Downing's 11th goal of the season and 7th goal in the last 5 games.
Grayson Downing-12 (Assisted by John Furgele-5 & Tyler Kelleher-13)
12:17 of 1st Period - UNH 2, Providence 0
~ Tyler Kelleher passed to Freshman defenseman John Furgele as they crossed the PC blueline. Furgele sent the puck around the boards behind Gillies.
~ Downing gathered the puck on the opposite half-wall and flipped a centering pass toward Casey Thrush streaking down the slot. The puck deflected off PC defenseman Josh Monk's stick, over Gillies' head, and into the net.
Danny Tirone Saves
~ In his second NCAA start, freshman Danny Tirone faced 31 shots on goal and he made 30 saves.
~ One of the more athletic ones came shortly after Grayson Downing put UNH ahead 2-0.
Noel Acciari (From Florentino & Gilmour)
14:28 of Period 1 - UNH 2, Providence 1
~ Providence was on the power play after an elbowing penalty on Brett Pesce.
~ Freshman goalie Danny Tirone initially made a stick save on a point blank shot but UNH didn't clear the puck out of the slot.
~ Florentino sent a slap shot from the middle of the blueline through a partial screen. Acciari redirected the puck over Tirone's glove.
PERIOD 2 - No Scoring
Brett Pesce Hits Post - Part 1
~ Before Brett Pesce injured his leg and missed 5 games, he was averaging 3 shots on goal per game. Since his return, he's reasserting himself offensively, particularly on the power play.
~ With about 8 minutes left in the second period, Jon Gillies knocked the net off its mooring and was called for delay of game.
~ On the ensuing power play, Tyler Kelleher set Pesce up in the mid-slot and he wristed a shot that got past Gillies and rang the post.
Danny Tirone - More Key Saves
~ UNH outshot Providence 16-10 in the second period but of a few of PC's bids required outstanding saves by Tirone.
PERIOD 3 - No Scoring
Brett Pesce Hits Post - Part 2
~ At the outset of the third period, UNH was on the power play. The top forward line of Thrush-Downing-Kelleher worked the puck behind Gillies and the PC net.
~ Downing flipped a backhand shot that Gillies stopped but the rebound was swiped out of the crease by a PC defenseman.
~ The puck went directly to Pesce in the mid-slot, he snapped a wrist shot and hit the post again.
Matt Willows' Breakaway
~ With about 4 minutes left in regulation, UNH had a prime opportunity to go ahead by two goals. Brett Pesce golfed the puck out of the UNH zone and up to Senior Captain Matt Willows just before he crossed the PC blueline.
~ Willows advanced diagonally across the slot and flipped a backhand shot that didn't quite get over Gillies' leg pad.
Danny Tirone Closes the Door
~ Providence generated 9 shots on goal in the final stanza. Tirone was called on to make a number of key saves.
~ Here are a few of Tirone's saves including his final one with 7 seconds left in the game.
With the win, UNH improved its overall record to 7-11-2. It was UNH's second victory in Hockey East action. Up next is a home-and-home series against the University of Massachusett with the Friday game in Amherst and the Saturday game back at the Whittemore Center. The UMass Minutemen record is 6-15-0 overall and 1-10-0 in Hockey East.