Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Northeastern was held scoreless by Providence in their Tuesday night matchup at Schneider Arena. It was the third meeting between the sides in under three weeks, and was a physical and defensive battle that Providence took the edge in up and down the ice. 

The Friars dressed seven defenders and 11 forwards going into the matchup. The top two lines produced heavily for them, and the Friars made the most of every given opportunity. They seemed to play with a lot more physicality and matched the skillful forwards of Northeastern stride for stride. The Huskies struggled heavily throughout the night to find shooting lanes, especially later in the game. By the final buzzer, the Friars had totaled 26 blocked shots on the night. 

Whenever a puck was against the boards, more times than not Providence was able to come away with it. The Huskies penalty kill, which entered the day at a dominant 94.9% kill rate, struggled on Tuesday, allowing two goals on three attempts. The depth of Providence seemed to match that of the Huskies, and when it didn’t graduate student goaltender Sandra Abstreiter was able to make the stop. 

The first period was limited in action as no goals were scored. Northeastern had a few opportunities on a power play late in the first but couldn’t convert. Northeastern seemed to have the edge going into the second registering 12 shots in the first while holding the Friars to three.

“We had a good first period and then we started to run out of gas,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint after the game.

In the second period, the Friars continued their aggressive defensive play and didn’t give the Huskies an inch of open ice for free. Throughout the game it felt like Northeastern was uncomfortable and couldn’t get into a rhythm because of the Friars’ physical and hounding play. 

Providence’s first real opportunity to pounce came a third of the way into the second. Northeastern graduate student Alina Müller was charged with cross checking, putting the Friars onto the power play. Müller is also notably one of the Huskies best penalty killers.

The Friars cycled the puck and found junior defender Brooke Becker on the inside high edge of the right faceoff circle. Becker managed a quick and powerful wrister that beat Husky senior goaltender Gwyneth Philips to give the Friars the 1-0 lead.

The Friars special teams dominance continued in the third period. Northeastern graduate student Chloé Aurard, another notable penalty killing forward for the Huskies, was charged with interference 3:14 into the final frame.

Providence maintained the puck well in the offensive zone and got a fortunate deflection to score. Senior defender Lauren DeBlois picked up the loose puck near the blue line and shot it towards the net with a screen in front. Müller, trying to block the shot, ended up causing the puck to knuckle and float into the top corner of the net. Philips seemed to lose sight of it, and once she realized where it was, she couldn’t get to the puck fast enough to make the save. 

Northeastern got a chance to get back into the game with 4:04 left to play. DeBlois was sent to the box for holding Aurard in the corner after the puck had moved away from the area. Flint opted to pull Philips, giving the Huskies a 6-on-4 advantage. 

The Friars seemed to block every shot that the Huskies threw toward the net. Even after the penalty expired Northeastern maintained the pressure but Friars junior defender Claire Tyo would seal the game with an empty net goal with three seconds remaining in the game.

“They were playing hard, and they wanted to win the game,” Flint said. “We got to find a way to get pucks to the net in those crucial moments, and we didn’t today.”

Northeastern finishes its regular season series with Providence at 1-1-1. The Friars impressive defensive performance handed the Huskies their second loss of the season in a similar fashion to when Maine handed the Huskies their first loss.

In the Tuesday matchup, Flint opted to use only five of his six dressed defenders, not playing sophomore defender Taylor Guarino. The absence of senior defender Megan Carter was again felt heavily, and Flint said her status remains day-to-day. Flint also said junior forward Molly Griffin sustained an injury and was sidelined indefinitely. Next up, the Huskies face Hockey East bottom-feeder Holy Cross in a home-and-home series, before two crucial nonconference matchups over Thanksgiving against Princeton and Cornell.

WRBB will have coverage of both Northeastern vs. Holy Cross matchups this weekend, starting on Friday night from Matthews Arena. Matty Wasserman, Zach Lyons, and Amelia Ballingall will have the call when the puck drops at 6 p.m. on WRBB Sports+.