BOSTON, Mass. - Senior Ryan Ginand netted his second career hat trick as the Northeastern University men's hockey team beat Providence College, 6-3, on Saturday at Matthews Arena. Wade MacLeod, Dennis McCauley and Rob Rassey also scored for the Huskies, while Ian O'Connor and Matt Germain each had a goal and an assist for the Friars. Goaltender Brad Thiessen made 23 saves in his 17th win of the season.
The victory improved the Huskies to 17-5-2 overall and 13-3-1 in Hockey East while Providence dropped to 6-14-2 overall and 3-10-2 in the league. Northeastern swept the weekend and the season-series from Providence.
Northeastern got on the board first when Ginand scored at 2:15 in the first period. With Providence's Matt Bergland in the penalty box for hooking, Ginand got the puck from MacLeod, faked a pass to Mike Hewkin at the point, then skated in through the right circle. He beat Providence goalie Alex Beaudry high to give Northeastern a 1-0 lead. Ginand nearly scored again when he hit the post at 4:40.
The Huskies took a 2-0 lead when MacLeod scored a power-play goal of his own. Ginand passed the puck to Joe Vitale down low and Vitale shot it on goal from the left side. The rebound when across the crease to MacLeod, who scored from the right side at 7:37. MacLeod had a goal and two assists in the game.
Providence came back with a Germain score at 14:13 in the first period. With Dan Nycholat in the penalty box for holding, Germain put the puck past Thiessen with assists from Chris Eppich and John Cavanaugh to make it 2-1. Between 14:50 and the end of the first period, five penalties were called on Providence and three on Northeastern, including a five-minute major and game-misconduct on PC's Nick Mazzolini and a pair of minors on Ginand. Neither team scored on the remaining power plays, and Northeastern outshot PC 16-5 in the period.
Northeastern opened the second with 1:11 of five-on-three play and 2:56 remaining on Mazzolini's major, but it took until the power plays ended for the Huskies to get on the board again. Jim Driscoll got the puck from Chris Donovan in the Northeastern zone and Donovan passed it out to McCauley, who went up the right side all alone and scored at 3:30, giving NU a 3-1 lead.
The Huskies added to the lead at 9:53 in the second on Rassey's sixth goal of the season. In the PC zone, Tyler McNeely won a faceoff to Greg Costa, who passed it back to Rassey. Rassey fired it top shelf to beat Beaudry and mae it a 4-1 game. McCauley got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play, and the Huskies were able to kill it off.
Providence was able to get within two when O'Connor scored at 17:27 in the second. PC defenseman Matt Taormina got a piece of a pass in the PC zone and Germain got the puck and passed it out to O'Connor. O'Connor beat an NU defenseman and and scored on a rush to make it 4-2.
Ginand scored the next two goals, putting the game out of reach for the Friars and netting his second career hat trick. At 19:04 in the second, he took a pass behind the net from Chris Donovan and shot it point blank at Beaudry for the goal. His next came on a power play at 9:44 in the third period. He came off the bench to join a rush with MacLeod on the left and Vitale on the right. MacLeod centered the puck, Vitale got a piece and Ginand finished it to make it 6-2. Ginand had his first career hat trick as a freshman on Nov. 4, 2005, in a 6-4 loss to New Hampshire.
Providence was able to get on the board once more with a goal by Kyle MacKinnon, assisted by O'Connor, at 13:36 in the third period.
With 13 games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Huskies have already posted 17 wins, their highest total since 2001-02, when NU went 19-17-3. NU's 13 Hockey East wins are its most since 1997-98, when the Huskies went 21-15-3 overall and 13-8-3 in the league. The last time NU had more than 13 wins in Hockey East was 1985-86, when NU went 18-14-2 in league games.
Northeastern went three-for-seven on power plays in the game, keeping up its torrid pace with an advantage. After going 13-for-107 (12.1 percent) over the first 20 games, Northeastern has gone eight-for-26 (30.7 percent) in the last three games. Northeastern put a season-high 45 shots on net.
Northeastern takes on UMass Amherst next Friday at the Mullins Center at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on 890 ESPN Boston and WRBB Radio. On Monday, Feb. 2, the Huskies play Boston College in the first round of the Beanpot at the TD Banknorth Garden.