AMHERST, Mass. - After seeing its two-goal lead disappear with three straight goals from Providence in the second period, the UMass hockey team (6-16-5, 5-11-5 HEA) received the tying goal from Chase Langeraap with 38 seconds left in regulation to force a 3-3 draw with the Friars (7-14-7, 3-12-6 HEA) on Saturday night at the Mullins Center. Langeraap hammered home a one-timer from atop the crease off a feed from Michael Pereira after the Minutemen pulled Paul Dainton (19 saves) in favor of the extra skater. Michael Marcou and Joel Hanley also scored goals for the Minutemen, who will begin a home-and-home series with Merrimack on Friday in Amherst.
By picking up a point with Saturday's tie, the Mass Attack now sits alone in seventh place in the Hockey East standings with 15 points. Vermont trails behind in eighth place just one point behind for the final playoff spot, while Providence is currently in ninth just three points behind UMass. With just six games left in the regular season, Massachusetts will play four of its final six games at the Mullins Center.
UMass doubled up the Friars in shots at 45-22, with Providence goaltender Alex Beaudry posting 42 saves. The Minuteman power play struggled on Saturday with a 0-for-4 effort, while Providence was 1-for-2 on its man advantages and won 28-of-59 faceoffs.
Despite the Minutemen holding a significant shot advantage at 17-8, both teams generated quality scoring opportunities throughout the first period. Seven minutes into the frame, Troy Power and Branden Gracel had a two-on-one chance heading into the Providence zone, but Power's pass across to his linemate was too hot for Gracel to handle. Brian Keane also had a scoring chance 90 seconds later with back-to-back shots on goal after a rush into the zone, but Beaudry was there to steer them aside.
The Friars nearly took an early lead midway through the frame when Daniel New hit the post on a soft shot on the blueline that knicked the bottom of the iron. UMass then went up 1-0 with 3:46 to go in the period when Michael Marcou scored his third goal of the season. Kevin Czepiel tried to send a pass over to Brian Keane from the right side that Beaudry intercepted with his pad. The rebound, however, popped out to the hashmarks where Marcou, joining the play, buried the puck past Beaudry for the score.
Massachusetts took a two-goal lead in the opening two minutes of the second period, but Providence stormed back for three goals in under five minutes to take a 3-2 lead. The Minutemen went up 2-0 when Joel Hanley scored his second goal of the year following a quick transition from the neutral zone. Danny Hobbs picked up a loose puck near center ice and dished to T.J. Syner heading into the Friar zone. Syner skated down the left side, then sent a pass across the crease to Hanley at the far post for a one-timer past Beaudry.
Following a Providence timeout after the second Minuteman goal, the Friars made it a one-goal game again five minutes later when Eric Baier buried a shot from the left point off a pass from Ben Farrer that beat Dainton with Providence on the power play. The Friars then knotted the score at two with 12:03 left in the period as Derek Army pounded home a loose puck in front of the cage with the Providence attacks collapsing on the goal.
The Friars captured its first lead of the evening three minutes later when Ian O'Connor picked the pocket of a UMass defender behind Dainton's goal, and found Kyle MacKinnon at the left faceoff dot for the one-timer that got over Dainton's shoulder for MacKinnon's team-leading 14th goal of the season.
UMass outshot Providence 13-5 in the third period, and started to create pressure on Beaudry in the final five minutes. The Minutemen went on the power play with 4:31 left in regulation, and Hobbs nearly leveled the score at three when Syner fed him the puck, and Hobbs cut into the slot from the left side and threw a backhand on goal that Beaudry controlled.
The Minutemen finally evened the score with 38 seconds remaining in regulation with Dainton pulled in favor of the extra attacker. Adam Phillips sent a pass across the blueline to Hanley, who then found Michael Pereira stationed parallel to the net. Pereira, drawing a defenseman over to him, then threaded a backhand pass to Langeraap who hammered it home to knot the score at three and force overtime. UMass outshot Providence 2-0 in the extra five minutes, but could not sneak one past Beaudry.