Back on the ice, No. 9 UMass routs Providence, 8-1

Staff Writer
Published: 2/23/2021 9:32:08 PM

Maybe the UMass hockey team needed a break.

Fresh off their first pause and longest layoff of the season, the ninth-ranked Minutemen put away a season-high eight goals and beat No. 14 Providence 8-1. It was the most goals UMass scored since Halloween in 2008 when the Minutemen had nine, also against the Friars.

UMass coach Greg Carvel picked the brains of other Hockey East coaches who went through stoppages and implemented policies they recommended in hindsight.

“You don’t know what to expect when you come off a pause,” he said. “This is as well as we’ve played all year. Our execution of our game plan was real strong. Really strong statement from our group as we get close to playoffs.”

Seven UMass players found the net, and Garrett Wait led the way with four points on two goals and two assists. In total, 11 Minutemen registered at least a point.

“That’s a great sign. We knew going into the year we weren’t going have a John Leonard,” Carvel said. “We weren’t going to have one guy doing a majority of our scoring. Depth is key.”

Carson Gicewicz opened the scoring on the power play just 3 minutes, 33 seconds in from Oliver Chau and Matt Kessel. Ty Farmer doubled the lead less than a minute later with assists from Bobby Trivigno and Wait.

“I thought the first 10 minutes, although we scored two quick goals, we were a little shaky,” Carvel said. “We seemed to get our feet under us.”

Josh Lopina added a third 1:15 into the second period from Wait. Providence scored its only goal 90 seconds later in a 2 on 0, as Parker Ford finished a Patrick Moynihan pass.

UMass (11-5-3) ripped off five consecutive goals in response. Wait, George Mika and Oliver Chau scored in the second. Wait added a second in the third, and Zac Jones finished the scoring on the power play. 

The Minutemen converted 3-of-6 opportunities with a man advantage. Providence’s Jamie Engelbert drew a five-minute major for contact to the head with 9:05 left.

“A real focus point in the (second) intermission was to play with class and stay out of trouble and al the things that come up when games get lopsided. This group of kids, they do everything first class,” Carvel said. “We rolled lines out there it was fun to see kids who don’t normally get the power play zipping pucks around and being really good hockey players.”

Providence (9-7-4) hadn’t given up that many goals since Jan. 21, 2012, an 8-0 loss to Boston University.

“Tonight’s an anomaly. This doesn’t happen to Providence, they’re a really good team,” Carvel said. “It happens to everybody occasionally where things get tilted and the snowball gets going and it’s hard to stop it.”

UMass only committed two penalties, the fourth game in a row the Minutemen only went to the box once or twice. The Friars went 0-for-2 on the power play.

“It makes quite a difference when you don’t have to kill six or seven penalties,” Carvel said. “Staying out of the box will be critical, and I think the guys are seeing they can stay out of the box and still compete.”

The Minutemen next face No. 2 Boston College at 7 p.m. Friday in Chestnut Hill. The Hockey East Tournament begins March 10.

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