PROVIDENCE, R.I. – University of Maine junior goalie Ben Bishop put an exclamation point on his 50th career win.
Bishop made 41 saves, including 21 in the first period, and posted his fourth career shutout and first of the season as he and his mates upended surging Providence College 4-0 Saturday at Schneider Arena.
Despite having an injury-depleted lineup in front of him, Bishop weathered the first-period barrage (9 high-percentage scoring chances) and then watched his mates limit PC to four high-percentage opportunities in the second and third periods.
Bishop made eight Grade-A (high-percentage) saves in the first period but was forced to make only three over the final 40 minutes.
“It’s always nice to get a shutout,” said Bishop. “They put a lot of pressure on us in the first period and I just tried to keep the team in the game.
“The guys played great in front of me. They blocked a lot of shots and did a great job in the defensive zone. I didn’t have to make many second saves [off rebounds],” said Bishop.
“He came up with some big saves,” said Providence senior goalie Tyler Sims, who finished with 21 saves, including six Grade-A’s.
Bishop benefited from three key defensive plays in the first period as Travis Ramsey got his knee on a goal-bound rebound headed for an empty net; Bret Tyler dove to smother a pass on a two-on-one and Tyler also swept a rolling puck out of the crease after it deflected off Ramsey.
Bishop also caught a break when Cody Wild’s screened blast from the point hit the short-side post.
Junior right wing Matt Duffy’s goal 6:59 into the second period proved to be the game-winner and the Bears received third-period goals from Wes Clark, Jeff Marshall and Vince Laise (empty net). The Bears killed off four Friar power plays, extending their streak to 32 consecutive penalty kills spanning eight games.
Maine improved to 8-10-2 overall, 4-7-2 in Hockey East.
The Friars, winners of six of their previous eight games, including a 3-2 triumph over UMass on Friday night, fell to 9-9-2 and 6-5-2, respectively.
“Bishop was tremendous,” said Duffy, who opened the scoring by converting the rebound of a Clark shot.
“Laise pressured their defenseman and he rimmed the puck. I stepped in front of their forward [to intercept the clearing attempt] and took a shot. I was aiming at [Sims’] pads but it went a little higher up,” said Clark.
“I got the rebound on my backhand side and put it in,” said Duffy who felt the goal gave them “momentum.”
“That goal deflated us and put us behind the eight-ball,” agreed Sims.
Maine had elevated its defensive pressure in that second period and Ramsey made another critical play as he slid his body across the ice to break up a potential breakaway by PC scoring leader Jon Rheault.
Clark gave Maine valuable breathing room 4:52 into the third period when he chased down a long pass to the PC blue line by Jeff Dimmen, skated down the left wing on a one-on-one with a Friar defenseman and snapped a wrister over Sims’ glove into the far corner.
“I used the defenseman as a screen and shot it through his legs. I saw the top corner [open],” said Clark.
Bishop also picked up an assist.
Marshall’s second goal in his last four games came 1:44 later with defenseman Brett Carriere, playing his first game at right wing, picking up an assist as well as Tyler.
It was sophomore Carriere’s first career point in 13 games.
Marshall beat Sims with a wrist shot from inside the left circle that glanced into the far corner off Sims.
“I picked that one up late, too,” said Sims. “It deflected in off my shoulder.”
Laisse concluded a memorable night for him and linemates Clark and Duffy by scaling the puck 180 feet into the empty net.
“Our focus tonight was unbelievable. It was real good to see,” said Maine captain Ramsey.
“It was a great team effort,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “[Bishop] was the difference in the first period until we got our legs under us. He was an inspiration. Everyone played well for us. I can’t think of anybody who didn’t.”
BLACK BEARS 4, FRIARS 0
Maine (8-10-2) 0 1 3 – 4
Providence (9-9-2) 0 0 0 – 0
First period – No scoring. Penalties: Maine, bench minor for too many men on the ice (served by Belmore), 6:47; Maine, Orsini, boarding, 16:29; PC, MacKinnon, interference, 19:03.
Second period – 1. Maine, Duffy 5 (Clark), 6:59. Penalties: Maine, Tyler, tripping, 3:13; Maine, Duffy, cross checking, 10:09; PC, Mazzolini, cross checking, 16:42; PC, Wild, slashing, 19:59.
Third period – 2. Maine, Clark 4 (Dimmen, Bishop), 4:52; 3. Maine, Marshall 3 (Carriere, Tyler), 6:36; 4. Maine, Laise 2, 19:10 (en); Penalties: none.
Shots on goal: Maine 8-7-10-25; PC 21-11-9-41
Goaltenders: Maine, Bishop (41 shots-41 saves); PC, Sims (24-21)
Power-play opportunities: Maine 0-3, PC 0-4
High-percentage scoring chances: Maine 2-4-4-10; PC 9-1-3-13