With payback on the mind and a chance to claw back up the early season Hockey East standings, Providence hosts Massachusetts in the second half of a Thursday-Saturday home and home. The Friars came out hard and heavy setting a tone of physicality in their smaller arena. The 85 foot wide side boards must seem like a closet to the Minutemen. UMass was gifted the Power Play opportunity first when senior Ryan Tait was called for Interference at 2:19. UMass’s top 10 PP unit wasted little time to capitalize when freshman Bobby Trivigno sent Philip Lagunov in alone from the right side. Lagunov roofed the puck over the shoulder of Hayden Hawkey for the 1-0 lead. This was a chippy game, as each side was bringing the aggression. UMass would be called for two penalties George Mika for Hooking @ 5:21 and John Leonard for Holding @ 16:12. PC was lackluster on the PP and it showed when Hawkey went behind his net to play the puck and a forechecking Brett Boeing stole it away from him and scored a short handed goal on the wraparound. 2-0 Minutemen with 2:26 left in the first.
The second period was a study in contrasts, as PC’s Brendan Duhaime was called for holding @ 3:30 and only 7 seconds after PC killed off that Power Play Duhaime was again whistled for Unsportsmanlike Conduct @ 5:37. 2 seconds later, UMass’ Lagunov was called for Interference on the face-off putting it a 4 on 4. PC’s Jack Dugan scored on a wrister from the slot. It was all PC at this point as UMass started to play sloppy. Colin Felix was called for High-Sticking @ 9:20. Sophomore Greg Printz would tie the game at 2-2 when a collision of UMass defenders at center ice led to a PC 3 on 1. Printz carried the puck into the zone and wristed one under the arm of Matt Murray @ 12:02. It was a new game after that and UMass was controlling the majority of play now. It was end to end action from the face off after the goal until the next whistle @ 3:53. PC would hit the crossbar on a shot @ 1:19. UMass would get a PP chance @ 19:38 when John McDermott was called for Hooking. UMass got a few shots off of successive draws as the period wound down.
The third period started with UMass on the PP with a clean sheet of ice. It didn’t amount to anything. Brett Boeing was called for Holding @ 6:16. The best chance of that PP actually came for UMass as Mitchell Chaffee walked in on Hawkey on the shorthand bid but roofed the puck into the protective netting. The period continued on with the physical play by both sides. UMass looked better offensively but was still sloppy in the neutral zone. The Friars had chances but couldn’t solve Murray. Murray was huge on a penalty kill that started when Marc Del Gaizo was called for Handling the Puck With His Hands @ 15:08. Murray made a diving poke save as the puck was passed across his crease. Murray kept the Minutemen in this long enough for Anthony Del Gaizo to tip a Colin Felix blast from the point past Hawkey making it 3-2 UMass with 1:49 left in the 3rd. Again. UMass would hold on to sweep the Friars this Veteran’s Day weekend to climb further atop the Hockey East standings.
PC outshot UMass 31-13 for the game. UMass had 6, 5, and 2 shots per period, but they made them count. PC went 0-7 on the Power Play, while UMass went 1-4 and scored a short handed goal.
Providence coach Nate Leaman was obviously frustrated after another disappointing finish. “We spotted them 2 goals. We fought back, I’m proud of the way we fought back. But at the end of the day it comes down to one shot. We gave them 2 in the 3rd but one of them went in. That’s the game.” UMass coach Greg Carvel was happy to get out of Providence with 2 points. “This is a huge win. 2 huge wins.”