PROVIDENCE, R.I. – UConn junior Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) posted 41 saves but the No. 5 nationally ranked Providence Friars scored three times in the first period on the way to a 4-0 win over the Huskies at Schneider Arena Friday night. The Huskies dropped to 9-16-4 overall and 4-9-4 in Hockey East with the loss.
Nichols was back in net for the first time in the last five games and for the second time this season posted 40 or more saves. The Huskies were outshot 45-24 and were 0-for-6 on the power play as they were shutout for the second time this season.
Providence got a pair of goals from sophomore Brian Pinho while freshman goaltender Hayden Hawkey, playing in just his second game, pitched a shutout in a 24 save effort. Junior Kyle McKenzie and freshman Erik Foley each had a pair of assists in the win.
The Friars put three goals on the board in the span of 5:16 in the first period. Pinho scored the first of his two goals to open the scoring at 13:08. Pinho took a feed from Kyle McKenzie and carried into the zone up the right wing then beat Nichols with a wrist shot from the face-off dot to the short side.
Mark Jankowski gave Providence a 2-0 lead at 15:55 finishing off a two-on-one by burying a one-timer in the slot off a feed from Erik Foley from the left circle. The Friars got a late period power play on a Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) boarding call and needed just 13 seconds with the extra skater to make it 3-0. Foley took a pass down deep and fed a pass right in front to Pinho who buried it top-shelf for his second of the night.
The second period resulted in six penalties including two five-minute majors but results in no goals for either club. The Huskies got a five-minute power play at 5:26 when Steven Ruggiero was called for hitting from behind and issued a game-misconduct. UConn failed to close the gap and got just three shots on net during the power play. Providence got their own five-minute extra man chance at 13:35 as Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) got a game misconduct for a hit from behind but the Huskies killed it off keeping the deficit at three goals.
Both teams continued to fill up the penalty box in the third period as well but neither could convert, each going 0-for-4 on the power play in the period. The Friars tacked on their fourth goal at 6:12 in the third as senior Brandon Tanev took a feed from Nick Saracino and burst up the left side. UConn’s Miles Gendron (Shrewsbury, Mass.) looked to stand him up as he went to the near post but Tanev just got a shot off that beat Nichols five-hole for his 11th on the season.
The Huskies and Friars will close out their weekend series tomorrow afternoon from the XL Center in Hartford. Opening face-off is scheduled for 5:05 pm.