PITTSBURGH — The sixth annual Three Rivers Classic opened up with No. 11 Providence dominating the Arizona Sun Devils, 6-0 at PPG Paints Arena on Friday evening.
The Friars open up scoring at 4:44 of the first, when Erik Foley picked up a loose puck and fired a shot that beat Joey Daccord low. In the second, Brian Pinho took a shot while absorbing a hit that bounced off of a Sun Devils defender and trickled through Daccord’s pads. Scott Conway fired home his own rebound late in the stanza to make it 3-0.
Through two periods, the Friars stymied Arizona States offense, jumping out to a three-goal lead and outshooting the Sun Devils 30-11. During the second period Providence placed the clamps on Arizona State, outshooting them 19-1.
In the third Greg Printz, Josh Wilkins and Ben Miragaes added tallies for the Friars, and Hayden Hawkey and Gabriel Mollot-Hill combined for a shutout in the Providence goal.
Providence dressed eight players selected in the NHL draft, including Pittsburgh Penguins 2016 second-round pick Kasper Björkqvist. The sophomore already had collected 17 points in his collegiate career heading into the tournament. Forwards Pinho (Capitals), Brandon Duhaime (Wild), Foley (Jets) joined defenders Jacob Bryson (Sabres), Ben Mirageas (Islanders), and Vincent Desharnais (Oilers) as well as goaltender Hawkey (Canadiens) in the lineup for the Friars. Arizona State goaltender Daccord (Senators) was the lone draftee for the Sun Devils.
In the first game there wasn’t a shortage of Pittsburgh-related talent, either. In addition to Björkqvist, former Johnstown Tomahawks captain Filips Buncis suited up for Arizona State. The native of Jelgava, Latvia amassed 72 points over three seasons for the Tomahawks.