By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
After picking up a pair of ties last weekend against the No. 8 University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the Providence College Men’s Hockey Team matched up against the University of New Hampshire in a home-and-home series.
Coming into the game, the Friars had moved up a spot in the rankings from No. 18 to No. 17. The Friars’ weekend began in Durham, NH on Jan. 29. UNH led the visiting Friars 1-0 early in the second period. That would change dramatically, however, as PC would score five unanswered goals, including four in the third period
Friars’ forward Jamie Engelbert ’23 started off the scoring barrage to tie things up at one in the second period. The goal was his first of the season. Greg Printz ’21 and Nick Poisson ’24 then scored goals just 52 seconds apart to start the third period, followed by Davis Bunz’s ’21 first career goal to make it a 4-1 game. All three goals were scored in a span of three minutes and 18 seconds. The final goal was driven home by New Jersey Devils draft pick Patrick Moynihan ’23, who scored a power-play goal with just under two minutes left, sealing the 5-1 victory.
Both squads then matched up again on Jan. 31 in Providence at Schneider Arena. Once again, the Friars went down early to the Wildcats, via a goal in each of the first two periods by UNH. The Friars would have been trailing by a lot more if it was not for their defensive prowess on the penalty kill. PC warded off a five-on-three penalty and were a perfect seven-for-seven on the penalty kill in the game.
A five-minute major penalty towards the latter half of the second period against Kohei Sato of UNH allowed the Friars to crawl back into the game. PC would score two quick goals thanks to Brett Berard ’24 and Tyce Thompson ’22 in the first 3:32 of the third period off the penalty. Thompson continues to be the leading goal scorer for Nate Leaman’s squad, with this being his sixth goal of the season.
A few moments later, Engelbert struck again. His second goal of the weekend was in fact the game-clinching goal as the Friars held on for the rest of the period to sweep the weekend series.
“I like the belief in the locker room that we can do that…I like the fact that guys believe that they can come back and win games,” Leaman said after his team’s win on Sunday. “But I think our starts certainly need to get better…[and] us getting to our game quickly is something that we definitely need to work on,” he added. It has been a theme many Friar hockey fans have witnessed this year. Nevertheless, the Friars are still producing results. Currently, PC is tied for the second most points in the Hockey East, alongside the nation’s No. 1 team in Boston College.
Jaxson Stauber ’23 continues to produce strong results in between the pipes for the Friars. Stauber was recently named Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week alongside Filip Linderg of UMass. Stauber stopped 26 of 27 shot attempts on Friday and followed that performance up with 29 saves on Sunday. He has allowed just four goals in the last four games.
The Friars are now 7-5-4 on the season and are unbeaten in their last four games. The Hockey East Conference is reverting to a week-by-week schedule, so their opponent for this upcoming weekend will be announced at a later time. Whoever their opponent is, the Friars will look to push their unbeaten streak to five.