BOSTON, Mass. - The Northeastern men's hockey team peppered Providence with 34 shots and put forth a great effort with a depleted roster, but the Friars held on in the end for a 3-2 triumph on Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
Sophomore Josh Manson has scored his first three career goals in as many games, including his first-ever power play strike to maintain his offensive output. Senior captain Vinny Saponari scored his first goal in six games to compliment Manson's evening.
Senior goaltender Chris Rawlings returned to net and stood tall all night, stopping 36-of-39 shots in the loss. PC netminder Jon Gillies registered 32 saves to help the Friars complete the weekend sweep.
Ultimately, Steven Shamanski's unassisted short-handed goal sank the Huskies as the game-winner at 9:10 of the third period. Manson's power play goal 20 seconds later kept it close, but NU could not muster another tally to force overtime.
Providence's set up camp in Northeastern's end and was outshooting the Huskies, 8-1, before Drew Brown's one-timer gave way to a 1-0 Friars' lead at 7:55 of the opening period.
Kevin Rooney swiped a Huskies' clearing pass at the red line, skated it into the zone to Rawlings' glove side and kicked the puck over to Brown all alone in the slot for the easy tap-in.
Kevin Hart nearly made it 2-0 around the 14:00-minute mark in transition, but Hart's wrister clanged off the right corner crossbar into the netting. Rawlings kept it a one-goal game after swallowing an unattested shot between the circles on Derek Army with 2:30 to go in the first period.
Twenty-four seconds into the second period, Steven Shamanski took a seat for interference to give the Huskies their first extra-man opportunity of the night. On their last attempt at a power play goal, junior Cody Ferriero negated the power play with a holding infraction at 2:07.
Northeastern killed the penalty and benefitted when Ferriero exited the box. Rookie Ryan Belonger applied pressure on Providence near the blue line, forcing the Friars to trigger from deep. Saponari blocked the shot and moved out to the wide-open Ferriero near the box. Ferriero took his time getting into the zone and made the perfect pass for Saponari to hammer the one-timer past Gillies from the right circle to tie it up, 1-1, at 4:14 of the second period.
The Huskies maintained their pressure but got beat on a great play from Ross Mauermann at 6:27.
Freshman Mike Gunn tried to rim the puck around the boards, but Mauermann intercepted the pass at the half wall, skated it in and beat Rawlings from a wide angle on the left dot to take back the one goal lead, 2-1.
Each club had one more chance on the power play, but both penalty-killing units rose to the challenge and kept it a one-goal game heading into the second intermission.
The Huskies gained another early power play to start the period, this time after Brandon Tanev was called for a slash 37 seconds into the third period. Northeastern put the pressure on Gillies the entire two-minute window, but could not cinch it up.
Alex Velischek put Northeastern on the power play once again for a hit from behind on Ferriero at 8:30, a hard-nosed forecheck by Shamanski yielded a short-handed tally for the Friars at 9:10.
Shamanski sniffed out a fluttering puck heading towards the neutral zone and as both rookie Colton Saucerman and Ferriero tried to make the play, the collided into one another and Shamanski was off to the races by himself. Shamanski crafted a double deke and tucked it past Rawlings' right pad for the short-handed strike and a 3-1 lead.
Similar to last night's contest in Providence, goals followed shortly one after another.
Northeastern won the ensuing draw following PC's short-handed goal and close it to a goal once again, 3-2. Gunn generated the scoring play by tossing the puck into Gillies from the blue line. Freshman Dustin Darou was in position to try and brush in the rebound and attempted, but Gillies stopped the puck again. Manson positioned himself on the post and hammered home the second carom for the power play goal at 9:30 of the third period.
Shamanski's goal stood as the game-winner despite Northeastern giving the Friars a fit with a minute left. Head coach Jim Madigan lifted Rawlings for the extra skater and junior Braden Pimm nearly potted a one-timer, but Gillies shifted over to seal the 3-2 Providence victory.
Northeastern will takes its first and only two-game road trip next weekend when the Huskies pay a visit to Alfond Arena for a pair against Maine on Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2. Both games times are set for 7 p.m.
Game Notes • Sophomore defenseman Josh Manson's torrid offensive pace continued on Saturday night at home against Providence. The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, native has now scored goals in the last three games, including his first-career power play goal. The three goals are also the first of his career. Manson's career-high three-game point streak yields a scoring line of 3-1-4.
• Ryan Belonger extended his point streak to a career best three games with help on Vinny Saponari's sixth goal of the season. The Green Bay, Wis., native has accounted for one goal and two assists in his last three outings.
• Dustin Darou pieced together his second point streak of the season with assists in respective outings. The Perth, Ontario, native's first point streak occurred on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.