The Providence College Friars lost five of their top six scorers off last year’s Frozen Four team.
But you wouldn’t have known it based on Saturday night’s regular-season opener against the University of Maine.
The Friars received four goals and an assist from junior left wing Greg Printz and unleashed a 59-shot barrage en route to a 7-0 Hockey East victory in front of a sold-out Homecoming crowd at Schneider Arena in Providence, Rhode Island.
“We didn’t play well in the first period,” said UMaine coach Red Gendron. “We played an awfully lot better in the second period but made a couple of mistakes and they scored off them. In the third, we didn’t play well at all.”
It was the most lopsided season-opening loss in UMaine’s program history dating back to 1977.
It was the Black Bears’ worst loss since a 7-0 drubbing by Boston University at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Nov. 18, 2017.
It is the fourth time in the last five games dating back to last season that the Black Bears have been held to one goal or fewer.
UMaine hosts defending Canadian national champ the University of New Brunswick at 4 p.m. Sunday in an exhibition game at Alfond Arena.
“Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong,” said UMaine senior right wing and captain Mitch Fossier. “On the first shift of the game, Tim Doherty’s skate broke. Then we took back-to-back penalties.”
Sophomore right wing Jack Dugan contributed a goal and three assists and Harvard University transfer Michael Lackey made 29 saves in his Providence College debut.
Vimal Sukumaran scored while the Friars were enjoying a two-man advantage just 2:23 into the game as he swept home a Patrick Moynihan rebound. Dugan roofed a 15-foot wrist shot off a cross-ice pass from Printz just 2:12 later while the teams were at even strength.
Providence outshot UMaine 25-6 in the first period.
The Black Bears generated some chances early in the second period but Lackey came up with some good stops. The Friars extended the lead at the 6:05 mark when Printz finished off a pretty passing sequence involving Dugan and Parker Ford by tapping home a Ford feed from the edge of the crease.
Tyce Thompson made it 4-0 with 1:37 left in the period when an ill-advised UMaine pass from the corner landed on his stick and his quick wrister glanced in off UMaine goalie Jeremy Swayman.
Printz added three more in the third period to become the first Friar to score four goals in a game since Devin Rask in 2002.
Swayman finished with 52 saves.
Providence, which attempted 89 shots, went 2-for-8 on the power play while UMaine was 0-for-4.
Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup took a cross-checking penalty just 1:20 into the game and, on the ensuing faceoff, Fossier was whistled for a delay-of-game infraction when he put his hand on the puck in the face-off circle.
“They buried all our defensive lapses and we took way too many penalties,” Fossier said. “We weren’t going to the right place and we didn’t do a good enough job winning the one-on-one battles.”
Gendron said his team didn’t handle adversity well and pointed out that their lack of discipline resulted in the Friars getting 23 power-play shots on goal.
“It was an unfortunate way to start the season. This wasn’t indicative of the type of team we are,” Fossier said. “We’re a good team. We’ve got to clean up some things, for sure.”
After Sunday’s exhibition game, UMaine entertains Western Collegiate Hockey Association member Alaska Anchorage at 7 p.m. next Friday and Saturday.