Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports File

Providence, R.I. — For its last game of the regular season, Northeastern came into Schneider Arena Saturday seeking to snag three points against No. 11 Providence. The Huskies were 6-7-1 on the road headed into the matchup, with home ice advantage not particularly impactful to its performance this year. After a hard fought battle in regulation and overtime ended in a 3-3 tie, the Huskies secured the extra point for the shootout loss and the Friars made out with two.

“We wanted to make sure we played well today,” said head coach Jerry Keefe following the shootout. “This game was important to us because you want to be feeling good going into the playoffs [this week]. And this is a tough opponent, we all know. We wanted to make sure we [had] a really good effort today.”

The teams played fairly even through the scoreless first period, with Providence taking a slight edge on shots on goal at 13-9. Both the Huskies and Friars created some quality scoring chances, but neither were able to capitalize with goaltenders Cameron Whitehead and Providence’s Philip Svedebäck standing tall between the pipes.

After settling into the game and resetting at first intermission, the Friars opened scoring early in the middle frame. Providence senior forward Nick Poisson deflected a shot from the blue line into the bottom corner before Whitehead could process the redirection and it was a 1-0 game.

But the Friars couldn’t sit on the lead  — not even two minutes later, the Huskies appeared to respond with a goal of their own. Transfer forward Brett Edwards scored on the doorstep to tie up, but the notch was called back for goaltender interference and Northeastern was sent back to the drawing board for the equalizer.

“We finally got a goal and it gets called back, but everyone was hyped up on the bench,” said senior forward Alex Campbell. “We knew we were playing good and if we stuck to it, we’d be in a good spot.”

And that’s exactly how the script unfolded when four minutes after, the Huskies found the back of the net again before the Friars could generate a two-goal deficit. Campbell put out an impressive individual effort, skating in from the right dot up to the crease all alone, and netted his team-leading 19th goal of the season for a 1-1 game.

By halfway through regulation, the SOG count was 19-16 in Providence’s favor. Northeastern was dominating possession in the O-zone for a good stint following Campbell’s goal — with multiple pucks to the net looking to take its first lead of the game — but Providence was able to reclaim it first.

After the Huskies lost control of the puck behind their own net, the Friars set up for their opportunity out front and didn’t waste it. Providence’s graduate defenseman Luke Krys scored the go-ahead goal at 16:59 in similar fashion to its first: thrown on net from the point past a screened Whitehead.

For its last shift of the period, the first line was able to produce another immediate response to tie the game headed into the final frame. Following Justin Hryckowian’s no-look pass to the low slot for his brother, Dylan tried for the wraparound short side and it was Campbell who snuck in the rebound with 43 seconds to spare — his second of the game and 20th on the season.

“What can you say? They just play the right way, they play hard,” said Keefe of the top line. “They [have] a great second effort to score big goals and obviously excited for [Campbell] getting 20 goals now, but good for him. That line was outstanding.”

Campbell also commented on the success of his pairing with the Hryckowian brothers, stating: “We want to play the teams’ top lines. You want to try to shut them down … work them down low in their zone and they can’t score. Something [our line] takes pride in and we try to get the boys going if we can.”

The Huskies found themselves chasing early yet again when the Friars took their third lead of the game only 1:52 into the third period. Poisson fired five-hole under Whitehead from the left dot to put the Friars back on top with his second goal of the night for a 3-2 game.

Northeastern dug itself a larger hole when the first special teams action came off a tripping call on sophomore defenseman Hunter McDonald, and Providence was handed the man-advantage. But the 84.3% penalty kill got to work, allowing only one SOG and taking up time in the Friars’ zone.

It wasn’t long before the favor was returned and Providence was sent to the box for holding by freshman Brady Berard. For its first and only power play of the contest, the Huskies delivered and 44 seconds in, Campbell came away with the hat trick for a tie game at three.

“Right before that,” said Campbell, “Justin [Hryckowian] kind of handed me an open netter and I hit the post — which was not ideal — but [Dylan Hryckowian] filled the puck in. Just saw a corner open so I had to take it.”

The Huskies’ power play has been hovering around 25% on the season, and has developed into one of the best in the country in recent weeks.

“[The] power play’s been good. I think that’s two games in a row that we’re 1-for-1 on the power play, which is interesting — not getting a lot of calls this time of the year,” Keefe said. “Kind of knew [Providence was] going to press on us and be aggressive. A couple of broken plays, and we made the next play — and obviously [it] was a huge goal for us.”

With ten minutes remaining of regulation, the SOG tally was 32-27 Providence. The latter half of the frame was rocky for Northeastern as it was able to keep the puck out of the net, but didn’t make it hard enough for the Friars to put up an additional 11 shots for a total of 43 by the final buzzer. Trapped in their own zone for the majority, the Huskies laid out for their goaltender to block many of Providence’s chances and Whitehead finished with 40 saves headed into overtime.

The Friars had the leg up in the five-minute extra period after winning the opening draw, and put up three shots to the Huskies’ two. Whitehead and Svedebäck made outstanding saves on the combined five chances and so the game came down to a shootout — with Providence securing the two points in three rounds.

The Huskies officially closed out the regular season on a high note, finishing just above .500 at 16-15-3 and middle of the pack in 7th place for Hockey East. Considering the curse of injuries with the losing stretch back in November, Northeastern was able to pick itself back up for the second half and prove to be a force to be reckoned with at its peak — upsetting No. 1 Boston College, No. 2 Boston University and No. 9 Maine on multiple occasions.

The team will host the No. 10 seed Merrimack Wednesday in Matthews Arena to open conference playoffs.

“Winning four games — it’s just one game at a time,” said Keefe. “The other team’s either going to have to win four, or three, right? That’s what you have to do in the playoffs, it’s one and done. So it’s when you [have] to play your best hockey.”

Don’t miss the Huskies take on the Merrimack Warriors this Wednesday for the first playoff match this season. WRBB will have you covered on 104.9 FM.