ORONO, Maine - Blaine Byron (Manotick, Ontario) and Jon Swavely (Reading, Pa.) each had goals, but it was not enough as the University of Maine men's ice hockey team fell to Providence 4-2 on Friday night at Alfond Arena.
Maine falls to 15-12-4 on the season and 9-7-3 in Hockey East play. Providence improves to 18-9-6 overall, 10-7-2 in conference action.
Providence opened the scoring when Derek Army fed the puck to Brandon Tanev stationed at the bottom of the face-off circle. His shot beat Maine goalie Martin Ouellette (St.-Hippolyte, Quebec) and crossed the goal line.
Providence added to its lead just 30 seconds into the second period. This time, Army fed Noel Acciari who was crashing the net and deflected the puck past Ouellette for his 11th goal of the season.
Maine answered back midway through the second period. Brian Morgan (Windham, N.H.) passed to Byron, who got his shot off despite being covered by a pair of Providence defenders. Conor Riley (Massena, N.Y.) also assisted on the goal.
The Friars answered back just over two minutes later. Army had the initial shot that Ouellette stopped, but did not control. Nick Saracino was there and was able to stuff the puck into the net on a scramble in the crease. Providence extended its lead to 4-1 at 14:58 of the third period when Acciari found Trevor Mingoia skating alone down the slot. He one-timed the puck past Ouellette for his sixth goal of the season.
Maine pulled Ouellette early in favor of the extra attacker. Cam Brown (Natick, Mass.) and Byron teamed up to find Jon Swavely in the left face-off circle. He fired the puck past Providence netminder Jon Gillies to make it a 4-2 game, but that is as close as the Black Bears would get.
Maine finished the game with a 30-28 edge in shots on goal. The Black Bears were scoreless in three power play chances, while Providence converted one of its six opportunities.
Ouellette made 24 saves in goal for the Black Bears. He falls to 14-12-4 on the season. Jon Gillies made 28 saves in goal for the Friars and 15-7-5.
The two teams finish their two-game Hockey East series on Saturday, March 1. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM in a game that will determine home ice for the 2014 Hockey East playoffs. Tickets can be purchased at www.goblackbearstickets.com or at the door.