On Friday, Feb. 8 the Providence Friars shutout the University of Maine Black Bears 1-0 after a back and forth battle. In the first period, second-year goaltender Jeremy Swayman tallied 12 saves for his squad. Maine had the first power play chance of the night but was unable to capitalize on the odd man advantage. When it was the Black Bears’ turn on the penalty kill, they allowed zero shots to the Friars ending the period all tied up 0-0.
The Friars came out strong to start the second period. Five minutes into the period fourth-year forward Bryan Lemos got the Friars on the board with his third goal in just 10 games this season after cutting across the slot and wiring a shot into the top right corner. Fourth-year forward Ryan Tait and first–year forward Matt Koopman were credited with the assists. The Friars held a 14-3 shot advantage in the second period, with momentum going into the final frame.
Fourth-year goalkeeper Hayden Hawkey began the third period with key stops on second-year forward Eduards Tralmaks and third–year forward Chase Pearson in the opening minutes to keep the Friar lead at 1-0. Second-year forward Greg Printz was whistled for interference with under five minutes to play, but the strong Providence penalty kill held strong. The Black Bears continued their third period push, out shooting the Friars by a 13-4 margin but Hawkey stood tall in the final moments as Maine pulled Swayman for the extra attacker. Swayman made 29 saves on 30 shots giving the Black Bears a chance to win. However, the Black Bears could not find the back of the net, resulting in a 1-0 loss to the Friars.
The Black Bears skated back onto the ice Saturday night looking to upset the Friars. Maine found the back of the net first after being shut out the previous night. Pearson, in front of an electric home crowd, scored his 15th of the season to put the Black Bears up 1-0. Second-year defenseman Brady Keeper snagged the pass from Pearson in the slot, then took off towards the net before feeding the puck back to Pearson for the easy wrist shot past Hawkey, just eight minutes into the game. Providence responded on the power play, as third-year defenseman Spenser Young connected with second-year forward Jason O’Neill for a pass at the outside hash marks. O’Neill fed the puck to third-year forward Brandon Duhaime, who tipped it past Swayman in the crease to tie the game.
Maine took back the lead in the final minute of the second period, on a short handed goal. Fourth-year forward Brendan Robbins stole the puck off of a Friars’ pass, and took off down the ice before poking in the puck between Hawkey’s legs for the 2-1 lead off of the five hole score. Though they were out shot 11-9, Maine headed into the intermission with a 2-1 lead over the Friars.
The third period was a back and forth but no one could put a puck home. With under one minute left, Robbins intercepted the puck at the blue line, and went streaking with third–year forward Mitchell Fossier towards the Friars’ empty net. Robbins passed to Fossier for the empty net goal to give Maine the final score of the game, ending the contest 3-1. Swayman had 30 saves on 31 Friar shots helping Maine split the series against Providence.
The Black Bears will travel to North Andover, Massachusetts to take on the Merrimack Warriors on Feb. 15 and 16 at Lawler Rink. Puck drop for both games is 7 p.m.