Hockey East Preview- Providence College Friars

BY: JOSH BROWN

Head Coach – Nate Leaman (4th Season)

Last Season – 22-11-6 (HE: 11-7-2) Lost in NCAA East Regional Semifinals

Losses – D Kevin Hart, D Mark Adams, D Steven Shamanski, D Will Goss, F Derek Army, G Brendan Leahy

Newcomers– F Robbie Hennessey, F Brian Phino, F Alex Cromwell, D Logan Day, D Jake Walman, D Truman Reed,

When the Providence College Friars only earned one point in the span of five games from the end of January through mid-February, many questioned goalie Jon Gillies, and his ability to win down the stretch. The Friars from their on out, won six in a row before bowing out of the Hockey East Tournament to New Hampshire. The Friars season would end two games later after loosing to the eventual NCAA Champions, Union, in the East Regional Final.

Gilles, who stepped up to the challenge down the stretch last season, will return as a junior a season after posting a .931 save percentage, allowing a stingy 2.16 goals per game. The Hobey Baker hopeful will be expected to once again be one of the best goaltenders in the country, if his Friars want to stay contenders in Hockey East.

He will be joined by the Friars top five goal scorers in Ross Mauermann, Nick Saracino, Mark Jankowski, Noel Acciari and Shane Luke, each of who scored at least 10 goals last season. With another year of experience under their belt, Providence will look to improve their 2.95 goals per game average which landed them fifth among Hockey East competitors. The Friars scored 51 less goals than rival Boston College who only played one more game than Providence.

One area Providence will look to improve this season is the power play. The Friars were tied with Merrimack for last in Hockey East going 24/171 (14%), a stat that if improved will only make the already potent offense even more dangerous. On the flip side they will hope to replicate the success they had last year on the penalty kill. Providence was second in the conference with a 87.2% kill rate.

Bottom Line- Providence will likely be a top three team in Hockey East, and should be considered serious contenders for a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. As dangerous as the Friars were last season, with the core of their team returning they are only going to be that much better and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if they win a trophy or two at the TD Garden this season.