BOSTON -- Northeastern played a strong first period on Wednesday night, but it was all downhill from there.
No. 16-ranked Providence scored five unanswered goals to close the game en route to a 5-1 thrashing of the host Huskies at Matthews Arena.
The Friars had not scored more than three goals in a game since a 3-0 win over Vermont on Nov. 14 and thus posted their highest scoring output of the season.
"We kind of got out of our little funk there and started playing well there (in the last half of the first period)," Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said, "but the second and third period was just an old-fashioned whooping. We didn't skate, we didn't play smart."
After a bad start to their first power play of the night, the Huskies benefited from a lucky bounce at the 18:08 mark of the first period to take a 1-0 lead.
Senior defender Colton Saucerman was on the spot to the right of the crease, collecting a carom from the end board and banking it forward and past Providence junior goaltender Jon Gillies.
Saucerman's goal broke up a long Friars shutout streak as Gillies and sophomore Nick Ellis held opponents scoreless over 239:32 over more than three games, dating back to Nov. 15. Entering the night, the Friars had posted back-to-back-to-back shutouts for the first time in program history with wins over New Hampshire, Army and Boston College.
Providence came out blazing in the second, scoring three times in the first seven-plus minutes to take a commanding two-goal lead.
"I thought the first period was a real good pace for a game," Providence head coach Nate Leaman said after the 199th win of his Division 1 coaching career. "We knew we were going to have our hands full tonight. I thought we showed some good mental toughness coming out of the first period down 1-0 and we continued to get better throughout the game."
At 1:27, St. Louis Blues prospect Jake Walman started a rush with a beautiful play from the point, finding junior Trevor Mingoia down low for the finish past a previously-committed NU senior Clay Witt.
Sophomore Josh Monk was sprung out of the penalty box at 5:49 and started a beautiful passing sequence that ended with senior captain Ross Mauermann's second goal in as many games. Mauermann, who did not have a goal in any of PC's first 12 outings, took a feed from junior Nick Saracino for the finish to put the Friars ahead.
"It kind of goes like that sometimes so you just have to keep working hard," Mauermann said about his slow start to the season. Obviously, the last couple games we've been winning so that's helped."
Junior captain Noel Acciari extended the Providence lead at 7:15, taking a beautiful diagonal cross-ice pass from Mauermann down low for his first goal of the season.
"We're pretty fortunate to be where we're at having those guys not chip in," Leaman said of Mauermann and Acciari's slow starts. "Between our three centers last year I think they had about 50 goals, so we knew it was going to come around eventually."
"Fortunately, our goaltending's been great and defense has been pretty good (to hold the team in games). Now those guys are starting to score."
As if the score was not already in hand, the Friars added two more goals in the final period to equal the 5-1 final.
Mauermann scored his second of the night at 8:26. As he worked around NU freshman Garret Cockerill, he drew a hooking penalty but still managed to slide the puck between Witt's legs to cap his first multi-point night of the season.
"(Junior Brandon Tanev) did a good job of controlling it, knowing he had time," Mauermann said. "He moved it up to me and he just took it hard to the net. I didn't even know it went in because I got knocked down and it happened to go in."
Providence kept pushing and added its fifth and final goal at 16:04 as Mingoia drove hard and banged home Saracino's centering pass.
The teams will have a couple days to make adjustments before the home-and-home series closes at Schneider Arena on Saturday at 4 p.m.