Providence hockey

Providence toppled No. 1 University of Mary to close the regular season.

GREAT FALLS – The 18th-ranked Providence men's hockey team downed top-ranked University of Mary 2-1 in the final game of the regular season Saturday.

"It's such a fitting end to the end of the regular season," Argos coach Jeff Heimel said after the team's fifth game in six days. "I'm really proud of our guys. We're tired. Guys are sore, guys are beat up. I didn't expect them to come out like they did but they did great. They definitely deserved to win tonight."

The Marauders scored first, with 4:30 left in the first period. The Argos evened it with 3:34 left in the second period when Will Wright scored the power play goal off the assist from Jakob Stevenson.

Taylor McCall's goal midway through the third period was the decider.

"It's more of a gritty mental win," Heimel said. "We've been in a lot of hockey games, and it's been this big mental hurdle where for some reason winning games is harder than we thought it would be. We can wash that away a little bit and get that monkey off our back"

After falling to the Marauders on Friday night off a late goal in the third period, the Argos came out with several adjustments.

"We had good line matching and we played good defensive hockey," Heimel said. "We started better by not putting ourselves into a hole to dig out of. I thought we were patient and we stuck to our systems. We came up with a big goal at the end which was good."

The final poll is expected to be released early next week. The top 16 teams qualify for the national tournament.

"We still don't know how the rankings are going to play out, but I feel like we have played a lot of good hockey," Heimel said. "We're as good as any team that we've played this year. We just beat the top team in the country. We have a multitude of wins against highly ranked teams. We made it last year and I think we got better. We qualified for it last year and we didn't get a chance to go. We deserve to be there."