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UMass shuts out Providence in Hockey East action Friday night

For the first time in seven games, Michael Pereira lit the lamp.

The top returning scorer from last season recorded his first goal of the season, and added two assists in the University of Massachusetts men’s hockey team’s 4-0 win over Providence at the Mullins Center, Friday Night.

“I just wanted to play my game, and today was the first day and I really felt like I gave what our team needed,” said Pereira, who had 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) last year.

Pereira opened the scoring with the first of three second-period goals after an uneventful and scoreless first period in which UMass (3-4-0, 2-4-0 Hockey east) outshot Providence 9-4.

His goal came on a power play, 4 minutes, 27 seconds into the period. The Minutemen won the ensuing faceoff and fed the puck into the corner, where junior Conor Sheary dug it out. He gained control, then found a cutting Pereira, who moved across the mouth of the goal and snuck a shot past Providence goalie Jon Gillies (28 saves).

Just six seconds of power-play time elapsed before the goal. It marked the seventh straight game for a UMass power-play goal, the longest streak since the 2003-2004 season.

Three minutes later, junior defender Colin Shea extended the Minutemen lead on a short-handed goal. The play began when UMass caught Providence (4-4-1, 3-3-0) in the counterattack. Troy Power darted into Providence territory and came to a stop to wait for help. Shea trailed the play and Power centered a pass to him. Shea took one touch, then ripped a shot over Gillies’ right shoulder. Rocco Carzo was credited with an assist on the play.

Branden Gracel added UMass’ final goal at the 3:31 mark. Gracel started with the puck behind the Friars’ net, then fired a pass to an unmarked Pereira. He tossed a shot on net and Gillies made the initial save, but Gracel skated in and poked the puck out from his pads and into the back of the net.

UMass outshot Providence 11-5 in the period and 20-5 over the first two periods.

“It was a good game,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “I don’t know if we were much different than any other night, other than that we converted a few more opportunities and managed our mistakes.”

Troy Power (one goal, one assist) wrapped up the scoring at the 3:14 mark of the final period.

Minutemen goalie Kevin Boyle made 17 saves for his first career shutout.

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