PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Hello and welcome back inside Dunkin' Donuts Center for tonight's 2015 NCAA Division 1 Men's Ice Hockey Championship East Regional concludes at 5 p.m. No. 2 seeded Denver takes on No. 4 Providence in the championship game with a berth in the Frozen Four in Boston on the line.
Tonight's game marks the first-ever meeting between the Friars and Pioneers in the NCAA Tournament and their first overall since Denver earned a 2-1 home win on Dec. 30, 2000.
The Friars are looking to return to the Frozen Four for the first time since 1985, the same year they won the first Hockey East Championship at the Dunkin' Donuts Center, after last night's (eventually thrilling) 7-5 win over Miami. Head coach Nate Leaman has led Providence to back-to-back tournaments, and now regional finals, for the first time in program history.
PC built up a 6-2 lead on the RedHawks after two periods, but Miami scored three goals while playing with an extra attacker for 8:35 to cut within one, but junior Brandon Tanev finally iced the game with an empty-net goal with seven seconds to play.
Senior Shane Luke scored two goals, including PC's sixth to cap off a four-goal second period, to snap a three-game stretch without a point and lead five Friars with multiple points.
DU avenged consecutive first-round losses to Hockey East opponents (New Hampshire in 2013 and Boston College last year) by scoring three times in the third en route to a 5-2 victory against the Eagles in their second consecutive NCAA Tournament bout and third meeting this season.
Junior captain Grant Arnold scored his first two goals of the season in the win while freshman goaltender Tanner Jaillet made 22 saves as the Pioneers eliminated BC from NCAA title contention in the opening round for the third time in the last five years.
Sophomore Will Butcher and senior Hobey Baker Award finalist Joey LaLeggia each scored goals in the game, the 28th and 29th by DU defensemen this season. LaLeggia has now scored five goals in the last 11 games, bringing the defense's season point total to 113.
Here are tonight's lines:
FRIARS (23-13-2, 13-8-1 Hockey East)
Shane Luke - Ross Mauermann - Trevor Mingoia
Nick Saracino - Noel Acciari -
Kevin Rooney - - Brandon Tanev
Steven McParland - Stefan Demopoulos
Kyle McKenzie - Josh Monk
Tom Parisi -
(extra) Mark Adams
PIONEERS (24-13-2, 13-10-1 NCHC)
Trevor Moore - Daniel Doremus - Danton Heinen
Evan Janssen - - Ty Loney
- Gabe Levin - Matt Marcinew
Larkin Jacobson - Matt Tabrum - Grant Arnold
Joey LaLeggia - Nolan Zajac
Adam Plant -
- Nick Neville