|1st||4:57||UMA||1-0||EV GW||Austin Albrecht (3)||Niko Hildenbrand/9, Josh Couturier/12|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Hayden Hawkey (L, 20-10-3)||58:33||1||6||7||8||21|
|Matt Murray (W, 8-11-2)||59:18||0||14||11||6||31|
AMHERST, Mass. - Freshman Matt Murray's record-breaking fourth shutout of the season helped the University of Massachusetts hockey team knock off No. 7 Providence, 1-0 on Senior Night at the Mullins Center. With the win, the Minutemen improve to 15-17-2 overall and end the regular season at 9-13-2 in Hockey East to wrap up the No. 8 seed in the Hockey East Tournament. Providence falls to 20-10-4 (13-7-4 HEA) following the loss.
As the No. 8 seed, UMass will host a playoff series for the first time since 2007, squaring off against No. 9 seed Vermont at the Mullins Center in a best-of-three Hockey East Opening Round matchup this Thursday, March 1 (7 p.m.), Friday, March 2 (7 p.m.), and Sunday, March 4 (3 p.m.), if necessary. Tickets are available by calling 1-866-UMASS-TIX or online at UMassAthletics.com.
"Obviously that's another really big victory for this team," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "We looked at the UConn and Providence games and thought if we could win one, we'd have a pretty good chance at home ice. To win both and to win in the style that we did, played extremely well defensively both games, played playoff hockey, for this young group, they've taken huge steps this year. I'm excited for the current group, I'm excited for the future, I'm excited for the campus that they've got a team they can come out and support. This is the third top-10 team we've beaten here this year. Providence makes you play really hard and we matched them tonight, which was our mindset going in. We know how hard they play and they make you play honest. Other than taking a few too many penalties in the first half of the game, I thought we did a great job."
The only tally of the night came early in the first period. Sophomore Niko Hildenbrand caught an outlet pass from redshirt sophomore Josh Couturier and brought it hard to the net where freshman Austin Albrecht was on the doorstep to put it away 4:57 into the stanza. It marked Albrecht's second goal in consecutive games and his third of the season.
It proved to be all the offense UMass needed as Murray stopped all 31 shots he faced in net for the Minutemen to log his school record fourth shutout of the year, breaking the previous single season mark set by Jonathan Quick in 2006-07 and Markus Helanen in 2000-01. Hayden Hawkey had 21 saves for the Friars.
UMass held Providence to a 0-for-4 night on the power play and went 0-for-2 with the man advantage. The Friars out-shot UMass 31-22 on the evening, while the Minutemen won 32 of 58 (55.2%) faceoffs, led by freshmen Jake Gaudet (13-for-12, 61.9%) and George Mika (7-for-11, 63.6%).
The Minutemen will open up the Hockey East Playoffs on Thursday night, March 1 at 7 p.m. in the Mullins Center.