Providence, RI – A first period goal from assistant captain Tim Schaller gave the Friars the early advantage in their first meeting of the season with Northeastern. That goal, shot off the glass before rebounding in front of Rawlings, might have been flukey but the five that followed were not, bringing the Friars to a 6-2 win over the Huskies.
Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan opted for Clay Witt after starting goaltender Chris Rawlings gave up three, but the damage was done. Chris Rooney and Derek Army each notched an even-strength goal in the second to make it 3-0. Then the second worst power play unit in Hockey East capitalized on the one-man advantage when Mark Jankowski got one past Witt at 13:06 in the second.
Army went for two on the night when he flew one past Witt’s shoulder at 4:44 in the third period, putting the Huskies in a whole they wouldn’t be climbing out of. He upped it to a hat trick about four minutes later, bringing PC to a 6-0 lead.
Despite four power play opportunities through the second, the Huskies remained 0-4 with the advantage. Finally, they were able to capitalize in the third with power play goals from Cody Ferriero and captain Vinny Saponari to keep the Huskies from being shut out.
With the win, Providence moves to 4-3-0 in conference play while Northeastern falls to 2-5-1.
What I Saw
- Gillies, a Northeastern de-commit, singlehandedly warded off a flurry of Northeastern offensive opportunities during their first period power play. Pimm and Ferriero created chances with back-to-back shots, but Gillies was on top of both. He stayed strong through four power play chances for the Huskies, even when his defense wasn’t solid in front of him.
- As most teams would be, Northeastern’s players were visibly frustrated by the time the second period rolled around. However, it resulted in sloppy penalties the Huskies couldn’t afford to be taking and some after-the-whistle shoving and stick slamming that was generally unnecessary. Disciplined play has been an issue for this team in the past, and they need to keep their focus if they want to return to the kind of success they were seeing early in the season, like in wins over Merrimack and Boston College.
What I Thought
- The Northeastern power play unit still needs serious work, and will continue to be a main area of focus for the team moving forward. While Ferriero and Saponari were able to get the Huskies on the board late in the game, it was too little, too late. If they had been able to take advantage sooner, the Huskies might have been able to avoid the 6-0 hole they found themselves in by the middle of the third period. On the season, Northeastern is 7 for 48 on the power play. That’s a conversion rate of .146.
- This could be a turning point for Providence. They’ve struggled to score in the recent past, getting shut out by both Vermont and Massachusetts in their last two games. The offensive ability is clearly there, and Gillies is dependable in net. If the Friar defense can get on the same level as their offensive counterparts and goaltender, this could be a turning point for Providence.
What They Said
- “I thought we played well in the first period. We worked hard, got pucks in deep. We didn’t get a sustained forecheck going, but we started riding it out down there. The first goal was a fluke goal, but we’re given up two many bad goals during the course of a season, and it was a bad goal that gave them some momentum.” – Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan
- “We got some puck luck tonight. Jon Gillies was the difference in the game. Some of the chances were probably pretty close to being even. I thought we finished on ours and I thought Jon played really well. I thought we played sloppy defensively and he kind of bailed us out. It was really good for us to score some goals. because we had been struggling to score some goals.” Providence head coach Nate Leaman
What Else You Should Know
- This was the first game in which Northeastern has scored multiple power play goals this season.
- Northeastern returns to action Sunday on the road at Vermont. The Friars will get some non conference action at Quinnipiac on Tuesday.