Providence College’s domination over the University of Maine men’s hockey team continued on Friday in the Friendship Four Tournament in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Junior goalie Hayden Hawkey, who had been lifted after the first period of his last start in which he allowed five goals on 10 shots against Merrimack last Saturday, made 24 saves and junior right wing Ryan Tait scored twice as the Friars blanked the Black Bears 3-0 at the SSE Arena.
Providence is now 14-0-1 in the last 15 meetings with UMaine, including 11 consecutive victories.
UMaine has scored only 25 goals in those 15 games.
Providence, ranked 10th in one national poll and 11th in the other, improved to 8-4-1 overall and 5-3-1 in Hockey East while UMaine fell to 4-7 and 3-4, respectively.
UMaine was shut out in its last game, 7-0, by Boston University last Saturday in Portland and the back-to-back shutout losses were the first ones suffered by UMaine since Boston College swept the Black Bears 3-0 and 2-0 on Nov. 6-8, 2015.
UMaine will now face 2-8-3 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, New York in Saturday’s 10 a.m. consolation game while Providence will take on 11-3-1 Clarkson in the 2 p.m. championship contest.
RPI has lost four in a row.
Tait broke a scoreless deadlock with 4:48 left in the second period and Brian Pinho’s power-play goal 8:39 into the third period expanded the lead to 2-0 before Tait added an empty-netter on the power play with 2:05 remaining.
Providence outshot UMaine 37-24 but freshman goalie Jeremy Swayman, the Hockey East Rookie of the Week last week, made 34 saves during an impressive performance.
Swayman, a fourth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins, now has a 2.02 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage in his last four games.
Bryan Lemos set up what proved to be the game-winner.
Lemos was able to pry the puck free from UMaine’s Danny Perez in the right corner and was able to circle the UMaine net and try a wrap-around attempt to the right of Swayman.
But the puck slid across the goalmouth to the top of the crease where Tait and Jason O’Neill were waiting. Both took a swipe at the puck and Tait tapped it into the net.
The Black Bears had a power play early in the third period and Hawkey caught a break when the rebound of a Rob Michel shot from the top of the right circle hopped over the stick of Eduards Tralmaks, who was parked at the far post and had a half-empty net to shoot at.
Pinho made it 2-0 off a diagonal pass from the extended goal line by Erik Foley.
Pinho, who was alone in the slot near the left circle, fired a 25-foot wrister over right pad of Swayman, who was dealing with a screen provided by Brandon Duhaime.
“That was the big goal of the game,” said UMaine head coach Red Gendron. “The bottom line is we had chances to score and we didn’t finish. Both goalies played very well.”
Michel was assessed a five-minute high sticking-contact to the head major at the expense of Duhaime with 4:20 left and the Friars added the insurance goal after Swayman was pulled in favor of the extra attacker.
Providence won a faceoff in its own zone and Jacob Bryston lofted the puck down the ice where Tait was able to outrace the Black Bears to the faceoff circle to negate the icing and poke the puck into the vacated net after it had come off the boards behind the net.
UMaine went 0-for-4 on the power play while Providence was 2-for-7.
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