PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Tyler McNeely scored twice, Steve Silva notched three assists and goalie Brad Thiessen posted his NU-record tying seventh shutout as Northeastern beat Providence, 4-0, in its Hockey East opener on Friday night at Schneider Arena. The Huskies posted a pair of goals in both the second and third periods.
Northeastern improves to 2-0-1 overall and 1-0-0 in Hockey East with the victory. It was the season opener for Providence, which fell to 0-1-0 overall and 0-1-0 in Hockey East.
After a scoreless first period, Northeastern scored a pair of goals in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Just 35 seconds into the second frame, Silva won a faceoff back to Denis Chisholm along the right boards. Chisholm fired a laser flat across the ice that caught the inside of the left post and went in for the score.
Just over four minutes later, Northeastern put another goal on the board. With Providence's Mark Fayne in the penalty box for hooking, Silva fed the puck to David Strathman, who took it out near the blueline. Strathman fired a hard shot about belt high into traffic and Tyler McNeely tipped it down and past Friar goalie Justin Gates. Providence outshot Northeastern 17-7 in the second but Thiessen was sound and held the Friars off the board.
Providence came out hard in the third period, but once again couldn't capitalize on their opportunities. At 11:43 in the third, Wade MacLeod scored to make it 3-0. Freshman Alex Tuckerman forced a turnover in the neutral zone and took it up the ice for a two-on-one. With Tuckerman on the left and MacLeod on the right, Tuckerman fired a perfect pass across and MacLeod buried it in the top right corner of the net.
Northeastern gave Providence an opportunity to come back when the team took its second too many men penalty of the game at 12:35 in the third. The Huskies' penalty kill was stellar once again, however, and the Huskies were able to come up with an insurance goal. Silva stole the puck in the neutral zone and passed it to McNeely for a breakaway. McNeely skated in on Gates and roofed it for a short-handed score, his second goal of the game.
Northeastern outshot Providence 11-9 in the first period, generating several good scoring opportunities. Early in the period, Ryan Ginand made a great spin move to get around a Friar defenseman and get a solid shot off. A few minutes later, Dennis McCauley intercepted the puck in the Friar zone and made a great pass to Ginand on the right side. Ginand got tangled up with a Providence player and didn't get a solid shot off and was whistled for goalie interference on the play. Northeastern took four penalties in the first, resulting in three Providence power plays. The Friars generated several opportunities but Thiessen was on his game, making several excellent saves to keep it scoreless.
Thiessen posted 35 saves in the game for his seventh career shutout, tying Keni Gibson (2001-05) for Northeastern's all-time record. Thiessen posted four shutouts as a freshman in 2005-06 and two last season.
The Huskies went one-for-three on power plays while holding Providence scoreless on seven opportunities. Sebastien Laplante served as Northeastern head coach for the game as Greg Cronin served a one-game suspension dating back to the final playoff game of 2008.
Northeastern is back in action on Saturday when it hosts No. 1 Boston College at Matthews Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday is Homecoming day at Northeastern. The game is sold out to the general public, marking Northeastern's first advance sellout of an athletics event since the men's basketball team hosted Duke in 1995. The game will be broadcast live on WRBB Radio and will have live web video on GoNU.TV.