AMHERST, Mass.. - No. 9 University of Massachusetts withstood a rally by No. 4/3 Providence and responded with the game winner from freshman Ty Farmer in the closing minutes of the third period to post a 3-2 victory over the Friars on Thursday night. A crowd of 6,357 fans packed the Mullins Center to see the Minutemen improve to 7-1-0 overall and remain perfect in Hockey East at 4-0-0. Providence sits at 5-2-1 overall and 2-1-0 in league action following the loss.
"In my time here, we've won some big games, but that's probably the biggest one," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "Providence is an excellent hockey team. We played well in the first period; it's such a big factor to score the first goal of the game and to be able to lead after the first period. I thought Providence was really good in the second period. But I was really proud of my team after they tied it; in the last 10 minutes I really liked the way we played. It's a great sign for us that we can find ways to win games."
Just 2:25 into the contest, freshman Marc Del Gaizo put UMass on the board with a power-play goal from senior Jacob Pritchard and sophomore John Leonard, knocking the puck home at the doorstep for his fourth of the season.
Leonard then made it a 2-0 advantage for the Minutemen at the 9:50 mark of the first. Senior Brett Boeing chipped a puck up off the glass out of the UMass defensive zone and Leonard was off to the races, hustling past a Providence defender for a breakaway and beating netminder Hayden Hawkey for the tally.
The Friars halved their deficit on the power play midway through the second. Jacob Bryson fired a shot from the point that found its way past Matt Murray at the 11:58 mark.
Providence struck with the man advantage once more in the third, picking up the equalizer at 6:44 into the third when Kasper Bjorkqvist with a tip-in from Tyce Thompson and Jack Dugan.
UMass responded to the rally, though, as Farmer found the corner of the Friars net at the 18:35 mark in the third to put the Minutemen up, 3-2. Sophomore Mitchell Chaffee earned an assist on the play to extend his current point streak to five straight games, while classmate Oliver Chau contributed the secondary helper.
Providence finished the contest with a 31-21 shot advantage and went 2-for-5 on the power play, while UMass was 1-for-4. Murray had 29 saves for the Minutemen and improved to 5-0-0 on the year, while Hawkey stopped 18 shots for the Friars.
Leonard finished the night with a goal and an assist for his fourth straight multi-point game and now has 11 points through four Hockey East contests.
The two teams will be back in action on Saturday, Nov. 10, with the second game of the weekend being played in Providence at 7 p.m.