PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For Providence, it was a case of the usual suspects on Friday night. The Friars used strong performances from their leaders: Nolan Schaefer, Peter Fregoe, Jon DiSalvatore and Devin Rask to best MSU-Mankato 5-1.
Nolan Schaefer was sharp early and often for the Friars, turning away 39 of 40 shots on the evening. The senior netminder faced 24 of those shots on the penalty kill, only surrendering one goal on a scrum in front of the net.
“When I take a look at the power play, they were 1 for 9 and they took 24 shots [of a total 40 shots] on the power play,” said Providence coach Pooley. “It forced Schaefer to make the saves and he came up huge for us tonight.”
This result is a welcome departure from last season when Schaefer made 40 or more saves six times without a win.
“The communication between myself and the defensemen is great,” said Schaefer. “They’re doing a good job of calling out the screens and just working with me so that I can see as many shots as possible.”
Schaefer was also quick to compliment Fregoe.
“Peter’s got a ton of skill that people don’t recognize,” Schaefer said. “He’s been working really hard and it’s paying off for him, going hard to the net and using his vision on the ice.”
Said Pooley, “Fregoe is very serious about his game and it’s paying off for him. He’s in good shape and he can make plays and dominate. He wants to be a player this year and it shows.”
Fregoe had a hand in three of Providence’s goals, registering his third consecutive multiple-point game and giving him 10 points in three games this season.
Not to be outdone, co-captain Jon DiSalvatore added a goal and an assist to bring his early-season total to nine points. DiSalvatore’s goal, amid a flurry to start the second period, proved to be enough to put the Friars past the Mavericks for good.
Senior co-captain Devin Rask chipped in with an assist for his second point in as many games.
As for Mankato, the Mavericks looked to be a little disoriented at times, attributable to the first road trip of the season and their first game of a new year.
Said Schaefer, “We didn’t really know much about this team with it being their first game and we had to be ready to face whatever came out of the door.”
“We’ve practiced for a while but this is our first game,” said MSU coach Troy Jutting. “I think it showed at times on the power play where we were impatient. Give credit to their goalie; I thought he was great. It was only our first game and it might take a little time to put things together.”
Said Pooley, “Mankato plays on a big sheet in the WCHA and we know it’s going to be a fast game, but it was also pretty physical. It was a good test and tomorrow hopefully we’ll be better and stay out of the box.”
Jason Jensen stopped 31 shots in the loss for Mankato.
The two teams will face off again Saturday night in Providence.