NCAA hockey tourney: Providence loses to Minnesota-Duluth in 2OT; Northeastern falls to North Dakota

Scott McLaughlin
March 25, 2016 - 4:20 pm
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WORCESTER -- For the second Friday night in a row, Providence played a multiple overtime game. And for the second week in a row, the Friars suffered a devastating loss. One week after losing to UMass Lowell in the Hockey East semifinals in triple overtime, they had their season and national title defense end with a 2-1 double overtime loss to Minnesota-Duluth in Friday night's NCAA tournament opener. After no one scored in the first extra period, UMD's Karson Kuhlman scored the game-winner 57 seconds into the second overtime when he poked a rebound over the line. The Bulldogs will face the winner of Friday night's Boston College vs. Harvard game in Saturday night's Northeast Regional final. The Friars nearly ended it a little over four minutes into the first overtime when Nick Saracino took a pass on the rush and rang a shot off the crossbar. UMD started to take control as the first overtime wore on and had some long offensive zone possessions in the final five minutes of the period, but Nick Ellis -- who made 52 saves in the game -- stood tall and the Friars hung on until the intermission. The game was 0-0 through two periods, but then UMD's Tony Cameranesi scored 3:18 into the third on a slap shot from the right boards that Ellis probably should've stopped. It seemed like that one slip-up might be all it took to end Providence's national title defense given that the Friars had gone more than 150 minutes without scoring a goal stretching back to last Friday triple overtime loss to UMass Lowell in the Hockey East semifinals. But the Friars finally snapped their goal drought four minutes later on a bit of a broken play. Ryan Tait's shot off the rush was partially blocked, but it bounced right to Steven McParland in front, and he whacked it past Kasimir Kaskisuo to tie the game at one. Ellis atoned for the Cameranesi goal with some great goaltending down the stretch. He made a highlight-reel sprawling save on a Kyle Osterberg chance from right in front, then made several big stops on two late UMD power plays. With just under four minutes left in regulation the teams traded breakaway chances, with Kaskisuo stoning Saracino and then Ellis robbing Austin Farley less than 10 seconds later. After not having any good chances in the first period, the Friars got a great look 1:50 into the second period when Brandon Tanev's forecheck forced a turnover that popped out to Saracino alone in the slot. Saracino fired wide, though. A potential turning point came 3:24 into the second when Providence's Conor MacPhee was ejected for a hit to the head on Osterberg, giving UMD a five-minute power play. However, UMD took a penalty of its own 1:02 into that power play when Dominic Toninato interfered with Tanev. Neither team did anything on the ensuing four-on-four, and the Friars were able to kill off the remainder of MacPhee's major once Toninato's penalty expired. The Friars killed another penalty midway through the second, then finally started to create a little bit of offense toward the end of the period. Erik Foley found Tom Parisi in the slot with just over two minutes left in the frame, but Kaskisuo made the save. More offensive zone time led to Providence's first power play with 1:39 left in the period, but like the Bulldogs, the Friars couldn't cash in on the man advantage. UMD had more zone time in the first period, but neither team was able to generate much in the way of quality scoring chances. The best opportunity came with 2:36 left in the period when UMD's Karson Kuhlman cut across the crease after driving wide, but Ellis held his ground and made the save. *********** - Northeastern's dream season came to an end with a 6-2 loss to top-seeded North Dakota in the opening round of the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati. Nolan Stevens gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead 3:07 into the game with his team-leading 20th goal of the season, but then North Dakota scored five straight goals over the next 24 minutes of game action to take a commanding 5-1 lead and put the game out of reach. The loss ends the Huskies' remarkable second-half run, which saw them overcome a 1-11-2 start to go 20-1-2 from Dec. 19 through the Hockey East tournament, culminating in their first Hockey East championship since 1988 and first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009.