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Providence vs. Minnesota Duluth: NCAA Northeast Regional Pregame Notes and Line Combinations

Pregame notes and line combinations from DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., before Providence and Minnesota Duluth open the 2016 NCAA Northeast Regional on Friday afternoon.

Nate Leaman and his Providence College Friars begin their quest to repeat as NCAA Champion against Minnesota Duluth.
Nate Leaman and his Providence College Friars begin their quest to repeat as NCAA Champion against Minnesota Duluth.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Good afternoon and welcome inside DCU Center in downtown Worcester, Mass., before the opening game of the 2016 NCAA Northeast Regional. Minnesota Duluth and defending national champion Providence are set to drop the puck at 4:32 p.m. with a berth in tomorrow night's title game on the line.

Today's game will be televised on ESPN3 with John Buccigross, Barry Melrose, and Quint Kessenich on the call.

The Friars saw their school record ten-game winning streak snapped after last Friday's 2-1 loss to UMass Lowell in triple overtime in the opening Hockey East semifinal, but remained locked into a No. 1 seed entering the NCAA Tournament.

Freshman defenseman Vincent Desharnais scored his first collegiate goal to open the scoring against the River Hawks, while junior Nick Ellis made 42 saves in the marathon contest. Ellis boasts a national-best 1.06 GAA and .957 save percentage in the last ten games.

PC had not played into triple overtime since the 1985 national semifinals against Boston College and endured more than 93 minutes of scoreless hockey before a winner was decided last Friday. In addition, this afternoon's game marks the Friars' first-ever in this building and marks the start of its eighth all-time NCAA appearance.

The Bulldogs are starting their tenth trip to the national tournament, but their fourth in the last six seasons and second straight here in the New England region. This mark's UMD's first six-year stretch with four NCAA berths.

Duluth extended its winning streak to seven games by upending top-seeded North Dakota in the semifinal round of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff last weekend, but St. Cloud State earned the title game victory by another two-goal margin.

Scoring early will be key in this matchup as UMD is 14-0-0 when leading after two periods this season, but its opponent this afternoon boasts a 22-0-4 mark in that scenario.

Senior Mark Jankowki leads the Friars with 40 points, while his 15 goals are tied with Brandon Tanev for the high mark. On the flip side, senior Tony Cameranesi boasts a UMD-best 36 points and enters today's game in the midst of an eight-game scoring streak. Toninato, who scored twice against North Dakota, has also reached the 15-goal mark.

Here are tonight's lines:

BULLDOGS (18-15-5)

Alex Iafallo - Dominic Toninato - Adam Johnson
Austin Farley - Tony Cameranesi - Karson Kuhlman
Kyle Osterberg - Jared Thomas - Austyn Young
Charlie Sampair - Cal Decowski - Parker Mackay

Andy Welinski - Neal Pionk
Carson Soucy - Willie Raskob
Willie Corrin - Brenden Kotyk

Kasimir Kaskisuo
Matt McNeely
Nick Deery

FRIARS (27-6-4)

Erik Foley - Mark Jankowski - Trevor Mingoia
Brandon Tanev - Brian Pinho - Nick Saracino
Steven McParland - Kevin Rooney - Ryan Tait
Conor MacPhee - Bryan Lemos - Garrett Gamez

Kyle McKenzie - Josh Monk
Tom Parisi - Anthony Florentino
John Gilmour - Vincent Desharnais

Nick Ellis
Hayden Hawkey
Brendan Leahy