Providence, RI -- It's been a common theme early in the season. Two goals from defensemen lifted Providence College to a 2-1 victory over visiting Ohio State in front of 3,033 at Schneider Arena on Friday night.
"I thought it was a hard fought win," said Friars coach Nate Leaman. "It was a better 60 minutes for us as far as moving pucks, playing fast and playing as a unit of five."
In a first period that was dominated territorially by Providence, the Friars were only able to capitalize once. Anthony Florentino worked the puck down low where Trevor Mingoia and Erik Foley crashed the forecheck hard. The puck squirted out to the slot where Tom Parisi pinched down to retrieve it. The senior, who had all the time he wanted, took a step and fired a laser off the post and in for a 1-0 Friar lead with 4:36 to go in the opening stanza.
Providence went ahead, 2-0, just 6:22 into the middle period. The goal came after a rather lackluster power play bid. The Friars got the puck low where Ryan Tait and Steve McParland went to work. The puck found its way out to Anthony Florentino, who bombed one into top corner from the right point.
"That was a great shot by [Florentino]. He got it off quick and found a way to beat [OSU goaltender Matt] Tomkins," said Leaman.
"There was a scrum towards his blocker side. Something [assistant coach Scott] Borek really stresses is getting up in the play as much as possible and shrinking the zone. I was just trying to get it on net as fast as possible," said Florentino, a Buffalo Sabres prospect.
After that, the Friars became a little unraveled with penalties and being taken out of their game. Ohio State cashed in on a five-on-three with 8:57 to go in the period to cut the lead to 2-1. Matthew Weis lifted a shot right under the cross bar with PC scrambling in its defensive end. David Gust picked up the lone assist on the goal.
Nick Ellis made 26 saves for his third win of the season. The junior didn't face much rubber in the first half of the game, but made some key saves and minimized second chances from the Buckeyes, especially in the second period.
"We needed him to play well in the second period. The guys have a lot of faith and trust in him. He's coming up with big saves at the right times in the game. His confidence keeps building," Leaman explained.
Tomkins was solid in the losing cause, stopping 28 of the 30 shots he faced. "He's a heck of a goalie," said Leaman.
The two teams meet again Saturday night in the series finale. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. back at Schneider Arena.