3rd period burst gives Greg Carvel 100th win for UMass hockey, sweeps No. 7 Providence

  • UMass forward Cal Kiefiuk, shown last weekend against Merrimack, had three points against Providence on the road Saturday in a 5-1 victory for the Minutemen. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS—

Staff Writer
Published: 11/6/2021 11:26:11 PM

A third period explosion sent the UMass hockey team to a 5-1 victory at No. 7 Providence on Saturday night in Rhode Island. The Minutemen scored four goals in the final frame and ended the game with three unanswered to turn a tight contest into a comfortable win.

“This was gonna be a big test for us to see where we stood. I thought the team performed admirably,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “I think the team’s starting to figure out its identity.”

No. 12 UMass has won six games in a row and swept the Friars over the weekend to move to 4-0 in Hockey East play. The Minutemen won a tight, one-goal battle Friday night in Amherst, and Saturday’s contest appeared headed in the same direction.

UMass junior Cal Kiefiuk put the Minutemen up 2 minutes, 21 seconds into the game from a deflection. Anthony Del Gaizo picked up the assist.

“That goal came quick. It was a little surprising.  You get late in the second period and its’s till 1-0 and you’re thinking geez that might be the only goal in the game like last night,” Carvel said. “I’ve been really happy with Cal this year. First two years were a little inconsistent. We’ve asked him to play harder without the puck.”

Despite 46 combined shots on goal in the first two periods, that remained the only time the lamp lit until 1:16 into the third period. Denver transfer Slava Demin scored his first goal as a Minuteman barreling down the center of the offensive zone after Reed Lebster worked him a pass from behind the net. Kiefiuk also earned an assist on the play.

“We were able to put the puck behind their goalie, and they weren’t able to put it behind our goalie,” Carvel said. “That’s usually the biggest factor in the game. That and special teams are big factors, and we were better at both of those.”

UMass was 2-of-4 on the power play and held the Friars to 0-for-3 with a man advantage.

Senior goalie Matt Murray turned away a career-high 41 shots for the Minutemen.

“Ultimately, Matt Murray has been the back bone of the team,” Carvel said. “I thought he was outstanding all weekend.”

The only goal he let in came shortly after UMass’ second. Providence’s Cody Monds pounced on a loose puck in traffic in front of the crease and lifted it to the roof of the net 3:37 into the third.

UMass has given up multi-goal leads in three of its eight games this season but didn’t allow Providence (6-5, 3-3) any more ground. 

Lebster responded with a slap shot that snuck through Providence goalie Jaxson Stauber’s legs at the 6:07 mark to make it 3-1.

“He’s as good a goal scorer as we have. He can shoot the puck,” Carvel said. “I want to see him be better in battles. Because I know when you start winning battles, you start scoring goals.”

The Minutemen couldn’t stop scoring goals in the third. Scott Morrow connected on the power play for his third goal in as many games to make it 4-1 assisted by fellow freshman defenseman Ryan Ufko. Then captain Bobby Trivigno converted a power play chance 41 seconds later to put the game to bed. Ufko and Morrow assisted him.

“I think we were opportunistic,” Carvel said. “I tell them all the time, you get what you deserve. And they deserved it. The last four games we’ve squeaked by even though the score is 5-1, to me we squeaked by. This was not tilted by any means. We just found ways to put the puck in the back of the net.”

The victory was Carvel’s 100th at UMass. He was hired in 2016 and won the program’s first national title last year. The program also won the Hockey East tournament championship last season and captured the conference regular season title in 2019. Carvel had no idea he reached the milestone. Trivigno had to tell him when the game was over.

“I’m obviously very proud. I hope to win a couple hundred more at UMass. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m grateful for all of the kids,” Carvel said. “It’s a milestone for me but it’s a reflection of the outstanding commitment and sacrifice of so many great kid we brought in to the program.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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