PROVIDENCE, R.I. - No. 9 University of Massachusetts hockey celebrated its return to action with its highest scoring output since 2008, rolling to an 8-1 victory over #14 Providence at Schneider Arena on Tuesday night. The victory moves the Minutemen to 12-5-3, while the Friars fall to 9-7-4 on the year.
"You don't know how you're going to respond when you have to go almost a month without games and I thought the first 10 minutes, although we scored two quick goals, we were a little shaky, but we seemed to get our feet under us and, as the game went on, I thought that was as well as we've played all year," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "Our execution of our game plan was really strong and led to some quality scoring chances, pucks around their goaltender that we were able to get in the back of their net. It was a really strong statement by our group as we get close to the playoffs here. I was a little nervous about the break, but the positive of the break is that you get energized and you get healthy. We had all four of our lines score tonight and it was a very complete game."
Redshirt senior Carson Gicewicz put UMass on the board early, curling around the right faceoff circle and finding the inside of the far post on the power play off a feed from senior Oliver Chau and sophomore Matthew Kessel at the 3:33 mark of the first period.
Just 54 seconds later, junior Ty Farmer cleaned up a loose puck in the slot from classmates Bobby Trivigno and Garrett Wait to double the Minutemen's lead.
UMass opened the second period with freshman Josh Lopina tucking home a rebound off an initial attempt by Wait to increase the margin to 3-0 at 1:15.
Providence took the goal right back at 2:46 with Patrick Moynihan setting up Parker Ford on a 2-on-0 to bring the Friars back within two, but it was all Minutemen the rest of the way.
UMass went on to add three more goals before the second intermission, ballooning its lead to 6-1. First Wait picked off an errant pass in the neutral zone and drove to the net 8:52 into the period to collect the Minutemen's fourth goal.
Senior George Mika flipped home a loose puck at the top of the Providence crease for his second goal in as many games at the 13:27 mark of the second period with sophomore Jerry Harding and freshman Aaron Bohlinger earning the assists.
Chau then made it 6-1, 15:42 into the stanza from Gicewicz off an offensive zone faceoff win at the start of a UMass power play.
Wait later added his second of the night from Chau and Lopina, 3:21 into the third and sophomore Zac Jones capped the scoring with the Minutemen's third power-play goal of the contest from Trivigno at the 5:32 mark.
Wait led seven goal scorers with a career-best four-point effort on two goals and two assists. Chau finished with three points (1g, 2a) and Lopina (1g, 1a), Gicewicz (1g, 1a) and Trivigno (2a) had two points apiece.
Junior Filip Lindberg totaled 30 saves en route to the win, while Jaxson Stauber stopped 32 shots for Providence.
UMass out-shot the Friars 40-31 on the night and went 3-for-6 on the power play, while Providence was 0-for-2.
The Minutemen will return to action on Friday, February 26, when the squad will travel to #1/2 Boston College for a 7 p.m. that will air on NESNplus.