ORONO, Maine — The Providence College mens hockey team had five first period power plays Friday against the University of Maine and scored the games first goal even strength in the second period, but they failed to capitalize in both areas.
Maine sophomore right wing Gustav Nyquist scored a pair of second period goals to put the Black Bears ahead en route to a 3-1 win at Alfond Arena. Nyquist leads Maine with 10 goals on the season.
Hes dangerous, Providence coach Tim Army said. Thats what good players do.
Maine freshman center Matt Mangene added an empty-net goal with 41.6 seconds left in the game on an offering from the Black Bears own zone. It was Mangenes first career goal.
Maines struggling penalty kill unit (77.1%, eighth in Hockey East) had to be exceptional in the opening period and they escaped all eight Providence power plays in the game.
They worked harder than we did, Army said. Their penalty killers worked harder than our guys on the power play.
We just cant take that many penalties, because its going to hurt us sooner or later, Nyquist said. I think we had a great PK today.
The Black Bears went 0-for-4 with the man advantage following a 6-for-11 weekend against UMass-Lowell and St. Lawrence University.
Maine sophomore goaltender Scott Darling (7-3-1) stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced. His counterpart, Providence sophomore Alex Beaudry, fell to 6-4-1 and made 27 saves.
(Darling) was huge in the net for us tonight, Nyquist said.
Darling and Beaudry kept the game scoreless into the first intermission. Beaudrys highlight save in the first period came on a shorthanded breakaway by Maine left wing Brian Flynn. The teams were equal at nine shots through one period.
The Friars finally broke through 6:01 into the second period on a one-timer from the slot by freshman center Tim Schaller. The lead was short-lived, though, as Nyquist stripped the puck of a Providence winger along the right board after the ensuing faceoff and deked around a pair of defenders before stuffing his ninth goal of the season between Beaudry and the right post.
I just tried to pull it back to my forehand and shoot it as quick as possible, Nyquist said. I knew the short side would be open.
Maine coach Tim Whitehead sympathized with Army as the immediate responding goals by Maines opponents plagued the Black Bears early in their season.
Thats the type of goal that went in on us in October, Whitehead said. We didnt deflate at all, and we just kept working hard.
Nyquist found the back of the net less than three minutes later when Flynn found him streaking through the slot on a 3-on-2 short-ice rush after an offensive-zone turnover. Maine junior center Tanner House also factored in the tic-tac-toe passing
We kind of had a cycle going down low, Nyquist said. They tried to force it up the middle and Flynn picked it off.
The hats rained down from the Alfonds student section balcony after what was thought to be a third goal by Nyquist early in the third period, but the goal was waived off after review as it was ruled the puck went in off Nyquists skate.
Its hard to come back after that, Darling said. You get the huge rush thinking youre going up 3-1 and then come right back down to Earth.
Providence had three power plays in the third period, including one that started with 2:26 remaining, but generated just four scoring chances in the frame.
We just stuck to our systems, and it worked, Darling said. Our fore-checkers were unbelievable. We kept the puck in their zone.
Maine improved to 7-7-1 overall and 5-4-1 in Hockey East while Providence fell to 7-6-1 (2-4-1). The teams will finish the weekend set in Orono on Saturday at 7 p.m.