What a difference 30 years makes.
The Providence Friars (24-13-2) hadn’t reached the Frozen Four since 1985 when they took to their home ice to face No. 2 seed Denver (24-14-2) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey championship. Yet the Friars netted three third-period goals to earn a rousing 4-1 win and become the second Hockey East squad to punch its ticket to the national semifinals.
Don’t let the final score fool you, however. This game was a hard-fought battle down to the final minutes.
After a scoreless first period, Providence’s Noel Acciari cashed in with a power-play goal at the 14:22 mark of the second frame to give his team a 1-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Pioneers responded in kind, though, when Joey LaLeggia scored on the power play just over seven minutes into the third period to even the score. At the midway point of the frame, however, LaLeggia was given a 5-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for hit to the head on Friars winger Steven McParland.
Providence didn’t waste the opportunity, as Tom Parisi scored the eventual game-winner on the man-advantage with five minutes to go. Brandon Tanev and Kevin Rooney added empty-net goals in the final 1:30 to seal the deal.
The Friars will head north to TD Garden on April 9 to take on the winner of Boston University and Nebraska-Omaha in the Frozen Four.
Nebraska-Omaha 4, RIT 0: The No. 2 seed Mavericks (20-12-6) ended the impressive run of the No. 4 seed Tigers (20-15-5) by scoring four consecutive goals in the third period to advance to their first Frozen Four in school history. Omaha’s Jake Randolph netted the eventual game-winner 1:01 into the third frame, while goaltender Ryan Massa stopped all 40 shots he faced to earn Midwest Regional MVP honors.
Frozen Four Matchups — April 9 at TD Garden
Nebraska-Omaha vs. Providence, 5:00 p.m. ET
Boston University vs. North Dakota, 8:30 p.m. ET
Thumbnail photo via Steven Senne/The Associated Press