BOSTON — The No. 5 Northeastern Huskies (17-5-2, 13-3-1 HEA) didn’t have much trouble with the Providence College Friars (6-14-2, 3-10-2 HEA) in either of their two previous games this season, winning 4-0 in October and 3-1 Friday.The trend continued Saturday night, as the Huskies were victors 6-3 at Matthews Arena thanks to a six-goal output, including a hat trick from senior Ryan Ginand.
Northeastern coach Greg Cronin saw the energy he has been looking for.
“I thought we had a lot of energy. I thought we skated as well as we have all year.”
The Huskies wasted no time, striking at 2:15 of the first when Ginand scored his 13th goal of season, this one on the power play. Matt Bergland was in the box for a hooking call and the Huskies set up after Joe Vitale won the faceoff. Vitale worked the puck to Wade MacLeod, who fired it to the point. Mike Hewkin passed to Ginand at the top of the circles. Ginand took two steps in on Providence goalie Alex Beaudry before firing a wrist shot high glove side.
The Huskies struck again on the power play at 7:37 when MacLeod scored his ninth goal of the season off a rebound. Ginand had the puck to Beaudry’s right and took a shot on net. Beaudry was able to make the save and the puck was alone in the crease. Vitale gave it a whack that was turned away and then on the third effort MacLeod put it in the open net.
The Huskies power play had been struggling for most of the season but the past few weekends have proven successful; the Huskies have scored eight power-play goals in their last four games.
“I think you’re seeing guys develop a chemistry, there is pretty good puck rotation,” said Northeastern coach Greg Cronin. “Ginand is real clever on the half wall. He forces people to really respect him and it opens lanes up. Wade [MacLeod], getting him off the blue line and getting him on the goal line he’s able to see plays. I actually thought we left some goals on the ice.”
Providence brought the score to within one during a two-man advantage. Both Mike Hewkin and Dan Nycholat were in the box for the Huskies and it only took Providence 10 seconds to make the Huskies pay. Chris Eppich was in the slot, taking a quick feed from John Cavanagh behind the net. Eppich took the quick shot on Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen, which he turned away, but on the rebound Matt Germain put it past the Huskies’ netminder, scoring his fifth of the season.
In the second period, the Huskies increased their lead back to two goals when Dennis McCauley scored his fourth goal on a slap shot from the boards. The Huskies broke the puck out of their own zone to Chris Donovan, who deflected it back to Jim Driscoll. Driscoll passed out of the zone to a streaking Dennis McCauley, who came racing down the wing and with no options to pass to decided to shoot. Beaudry got a piece of the puck, but it rolled its way to the back of the net.
McCauley accomplished a rare feat on the goal. He not only scored, but received a penalty on the play. After the goal, McCauley shoved the trailing Friars’ defensemen and was issued two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct immediately after scoring.
Providence added a goal in the second period when Ian O’Connor came racing in on a breakaway from neutral ice and ripped a shot over the blocker of Thiessen.
Northeastern brought their lead back to three goals with less than a minute left in second period when Ginand scored his second goal of the game on a shot past a screened Beaudry.
Ginand scored at 10:16 of the third period to put the Huskies up by four goals. For Ginand, it was his 15th of the season. Ginand finished the night with four points.
“He’s a goal scorer, he just wants to score goals,” said Cronin of Ginand. “Sometimes I want to strangle him cause I think he makes some low percentage plays with the puck, but it’s real visible how badly he wants to score goals. He lights up like a Christmas tree when he gets the puck near the scoring areas.”