The University of Maine men's hockey team follows the action from the bench during Saturday night's Hockey East game against New Hampshire at the Whittemore Center in Durham, New Hampshire on Dec. 12. The Wildcats beat the Black Bears 6-2. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

A week ago, the University of Maine’s men’s hockey team was the nation’s least penalized among the 59 teams in Division I.

But the Black Bears no longer hold that distinction after four five-minute majors in three games including two in the first period of Friday night’s game at Providence College, which helped the Friars jump out to a 2-0 lead and go on to post a 4-2 Hockey East victory at Schneider Arena in Providence.

With a lineup already depleted by injuries and departures, UMaine’s Donavan Houle and Grant Hebert were assessed five-minute contact-to-the-head majors and game misconducts within the first 8:47 of the game.

UMaine was already without center Adam Dawe, who was serving a league-imposed one-game suspension for a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct he picked up in the first period of Saturday night’s 5-2 loss to New Hampshire.

No. 19 Providence is now 20-13-1 overall and 11-11-1 in Hockey East while UMaine fell to 6-19-4 and 4-15-2. UMaine is 1-11-1 on the road.

The two teams will play again Saturday at 4 p.m.

Brett Berard’s power-play goal 12:38 into the first period and an even-strength goal by Riley Duran 4:33 later supplied the Friars with a lead they would never relinquish.

Parker Ford extended the lead to 3-0 in the second period before Keenan Suthers pulled one back for UMaine with 1:42 remaining in the period.

The Black Bears went on the power play midway through the third period with a chance to cut the lead to one but Chase Yoder sewed up the win with a shorthanded goal at the 12:56 mark.

Matthew Fawcett scored a six-on-four goal with 2:25 left as UMaine head coach Ben Barr pulled goalie Victor Ostman in favor of an extra attacker while on the power play.

 A Lynden Breen tripping penalty ended any further comeback hopes.

Providence outshot UMaine 43-13.

“Our guys played really hard. Our penalty-killers did a good job,” said UMaine coach Ben Barr.

“But when you take two five-minute majors in the first period, you have no chance. We aren’t even giving ourselves a chance to compete right now. Our discipline has got to get better. I don’t know where this is coming from. I had no problem with our effort but the discipline was a major issue.”

Berard opened the scoring with his 15th goal of the season as Providence created a four-on-three rush off a UMaine turnover and his 25-foot wrist shot from the middle of the slot beat Ostman to the stick side.

Duran extended the lead with his ninth off a Berard pass. He skated down the right side and wristed the puck past Ostman from just below the right faceoff dot.

Ford’s 13th made it 3-0 15:16 into the second period but Suthers answered with his fourth off pass from the skate of A.J. Drobot.

Yoder’s fifth goal of the season came when he outraced the Black Bears to the puck and beat Ostman from a tight angle while UMaine was on the power play.

Fawcett’s goal was his third with Jack Quinlivan picked up his second assist of the game and David Breazeale also assisting.

Max Crozier had two assists for Providence.

Ostman finished with 39 saves and Jaxson Stauber had 11 for the Friars.