Providence reaches first championship game since 1985 with win vs. Omaha


BOSTON — For the second time in program history and the first time since 1985, Providence will play for a national championship as the Friars defeated Omaha by the score of 4-1 on Thursday at TD Garden.

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The Friars peppered Omaha goaltender Ryan Massa through a period and a half before Noel Acciari opened the scoring for the Friars with an even-strength goal at the 11:02 mark of the second.

Mark Jankowski netted the second goal, which would hold up as the game winner to clinch a spot in the title game for Providence (25-13-2). Jankowski took a pass from Nick Saracino and wristed home the goal.

The Friars generated 16 shots on goal in the first period of play but Massa kept them all out of the net. Providence’s best chances in the period belonged to Trevor Mingoia, as he had two quality opportunities, and Brandon Tanev, who fired a shot through the goal crease that hit the post.

Jon Gillies stopped all nine shots by the Mavericks to keep the first period scoreless.

Providence continued to outshoot Omaha in the second period (17-7) and eventually beat Massa for the first time in the game at 11:02 when Acciari netted his 15th goal of the season. Acciari followed up on a scoring chance by Nick Saracino and Brian Pinho, and capitalized on the loose rebound.

Jankowski extended the Friars’ lead to 2-0 on the Mavericks at 14:58 of the second period. Defenseman Jake Walman wrapped the puck around the boards to Saracino. Saracino connected a pass to Jankowski, who was wide open in front of Massa. As Massa was down on the play, Jankowski lifted the puck over Massa’s right leg for his seventh goal of the season.

Omaha cut the Friars’ lead in half at 10:46 of the third period as Jake Guentzel scored for the Mavericks. Tyler Vesel sent a pass from the boards to Guentzel, in the slot. Guentzel’s wrist shot beat Gillies for a score of 2-1.

The Friars quickly responded to the Omaha goal as Mingoia scored to regain the two-goal lead. After getting the puck from Ross Mauermann, Jankowski won a battle for the puck along the corner boards and found Mingoia open in the slot. Mingoia’s shot from the circles beat Massa to put the Friars ahead 3-1 at 11:10 of the third period. Mingoia’s goal came just 24 seconds after Omaha got on the board.

Saracino capped off the game’s scoring and sealed the win for the Friars with an empty net goal at 19:29 of the third period. Kevin Rooney and Anthony Florentino recorded the assists.

Gillies was strong in goal for the Friars as he stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced. Massa was solid for the Mavericks, despite the loss, as he finished the game with 44 saves.

Providence outshot Omaha 48-26.