Sophomore forward Matt Willows picked a good time to have the best game of his career for the University of New Hampshire.
Willows scored three goals — giving him eight in his two seasons — and the Wildcats skated off with a 4-1 win over host Providence Saturday to even their best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series.
The teams will meet today at 4:30 p.m. at Schneider Arena, with the winner advancing to the semifinals next weekend against UMass-Lowell.
Willows got the seventh-ranked Wildcats (19-10-7) started, beating Jon Gillies (20 saves) at 15:19 of the first period. He doubled the lead 1:45 into the second period before 17th-ranked Providence rebounded.
Eighteen seconds after Jay Camper went off for interference Nick Saracino got one past Casey DeSmith (38 saves) to make it 2-1 at 3:32 of the period.
The Friars (16-13-7) dominated play in the third period, outshooting the Wildcats, 16-3, but DeSmith stood tall and Jeff Silengo scored an unassisted goal at 17:33 to make it 3-1. Willows sealed the win with an empty-net goal at 18:23.
ECAC quarterfinals — Kellen Jones and Travis St. Denis each scored twice and top-ranked Quinnipiac (25-6-5) blew out visiting Cornell, 10-0, to force a deciding game in their best-of-three series. A night after being frustrated by the Big Red (15-15-3) in a 3-2 loss, the Bobcats broke out for seven goals in the second period and finished with their highest-scoring game of the season . . . Tommy Fallen had a goal and an assist and Jeff Malcolm needed to make only 17 saves as Yale (18-10-2) coasted to a 3-0 win over St. Lawrence (18-16-4) and a sweep of their best-of-three series in New Haven . . . In Schenectady, N.Y., Kevin Sullivan had two goals and an assist and No. 19 Union (19-12-5) jumped out to a 3-0 lead en route to a 5-2 win over Dartmouth (15-14-5) that completed a sweep of the series . . . Mike Zalewski broke open a close game with two third-period goals and No. 16 Rensselaer (18-13-5) beat Brown, 6-2, to force a deciding game in the series. Matt Lorito and Chris Zaires scored for the Bears (14-13-6).
Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals — Shayne Stockton and Joe McNamara scored 3:02 apart early in the third period to rally Holy Cross (20-13-3) to a 3-2 win over Mercyhurst (17-16-5) and force a deciding game in their best-of-three series in Worcester . . . At Storrs, Conn., Trevor Gerling scored twice and UConn (19-13-4) held off Robert Morris, 4-3, to sweep the series . . . Marc Zanette scored at 13:12 of overtime to give 15th-ranked Niagara a 2-1 win over visiting RIT and a sweep of the series . . . Adam McKenzie scored at 2:21 of the third period and Air Force (17-12-5) earned a 2-1 win over visiting Canisius (16-18-5) to force a Game 3.
NCAA Div. 3 final — Jordan Singer had a goal and an assist and Wisconsin-Eau Claire (24-5-2) rallied for a 5-3 win over Oswego State (25-5-0) in Lake Placid, N.Y.