Men’s Hockey Downs RIT, 3-1

Photo provided by Providence College

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Providence College men’s hockey team earned its first two-game sweep of the season on Saturday night after a 3-1 win over RIT at the Gene Polisseni Center in Rochester, N.Y.

The Friars (7-6-3) move above the .500 mark for the first time since opening night on the strength of 29 saves from sophomore goaltender Hayden Hawkey. RIT’s Mike Rotolo made 26 stops for the host Tigers on Saturday.

Scott Conway notched a goal and an assist for the Friars, while senior Conor MacPhee sealed the game in the waning moments with an empty net goal for his second tally in as many nights.

In similar fashion to Friday night, the Friars jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period against the Tigers. Kasper Björkqvist left a drop pass to Scott Conway at the top of the circles and the sophomore fired a shot that broke through the pads of Rotolo and into the back of the net for his fifth strike of the season. Providence extended its lead to 2-0 just 2:28 later on the power play as Erik Foley and Josh Monk played catch at the top of the circles, with Foley then firing a wrister through traffic over the glove of Rotolo.

Hawkey turned away all 11 shots he faced in the opening period as the Friars continued their first period success in 2016-17, out-scoring opponents 18-6 in the first period.

The teams battled through a scoreless second period, thanks to the work of Hawkey (15 saves) and Rotolo (12 saves). Hawkey’s best work of the game came as RIT’s Shawn Cameron found himself alone at the top of the crease, but the sophomore sprawled and got an arm on Cameron’s point-blank bid. The Friars carried a shutout into the period for the third consecutive game.

The Friars held the Tigers at bay for the majority of the third until Myles Powell cut the deficit in half with just 2:33 to play as he found a seam through the Friars’ defense. MacPhee clinched the game at 19:12 after intercepting a RIT pass and breaking in alone to finish off into the empty net.

Up next, Providence will have a 20-day hiatus for winter break before hosting No. 2 Denver for a pair at Schneider Arena from Dec. 30-31.