It’s been a long 24 days of no UMass Hockey. You would think after not being able to play any games during that time, a team would come onto the ice with a slow start. However, as shown in Tuesday night’s game, that’s not really the UMass spirit.
Despite having faced Providence twice this season with both of those games being pretty evenly matched at 0-0 and 1-1 having both gone into a shootout, Tuesday’s game was anything but close to this. Carson Gicewicz and Ty Farmer got the puck to the back of the net within a minute of one another to make the game 2-0 which held for the entirety of the first. UMass dominated possession of the puck and kept it in the offensive zone for much of the period. This correlated to their second period performance as Josh Lopina got his seventh of the season off a rebound from Garrett Wait’s shot at just 1:15 in. Even though Providence came back with a goal of their own not too long after, UMass quickly took control once more with two more goals of their own from George Mika and Oliver Chau.
Chau, having been named second star of the game, had gotten a total of three points off of one goal and two assists. Providence’s Matt Koopman didn’t have to worry about being in the penalty box long (called for tripping on Bobby Trivigno) as Chau’s goal took him all of about three seconds to score into the power play opportunity. Speaking of Trivigno, he was named third star of the game with two points of his own from two assists. However, this doesn’t speak enough about his contributions in the game as he repeatedly won battles against the boards, got the puck in deep, and played relentlessly in an effort to hold UMass’s lead. There’s no secret as to why he wears that A on his jersey, definitely one of the strongest players on the UMass roster as shown time and time again.
Filip Lindberg comes out big with 30 saves on 31 shots in the game. The lone shot that had gotten past was a 2-on-1 play with a pass right in front before the shot was taken. Lindberg continued the game, however, with strong intensity as one of Providence’s strongest players, Brett Berard, had a one timer that Lindberg gloved at 12:04 into the second keeping the score 3-1 at the time. This was a crucial save as a goal would have put the Minutemen up by only one with the possibility of Providence coming back to tie.
I don’t think Providence knew what to expect when they faced the Minutemen, but a 8-1 game definitely was not it. With full understanding that UMass hasn’t faced an opponent in some time and having gone into two shootouts with them, they may have felt that they could have had an upper hand coming in. The Minutemen quickly disproved that and took Providence off their guard as they dominated shots on net with a total of 48, eight of those going in, compared to the 31 for the Friars with one resulting goal. It is a surprise to note as well that Providence never switched out their goalies by keeping Stauber in for the whole game.
We will have to see if the #9 Minutemen can carry this momentum into their matchup against #1 Boston College this Friday February 26 at 7pm. You can be sure to watch on NESN+ and be a part of the crowd virtually through the Militia Twitter @UMassMilitia!