The Minutemen faced two double OT games back-to-back against Providence last Friday and Saturday. Both teams seemed to struggle in the first of the two matchups not being able to get a single goal in regulation play. Filip Lindberg was really on his head coming back from an eleven game injury having saved 28 shots in both regulation and 3 on 3 OT play. Unfortunately, Providence’s Brett Berard beat him to the five hole on the fourth round of the shootout, winning it for Providence.
Anthony Del Gaizo deserves much credit for how he played in Friday’s game due to the fact he was continuously aggressive on the puck and made many great opportunities on net. At around 5:24 in the second, he single handedly skated through several Providence players after coming around from the other side of the ice having caused a turnover on the Friars and made his way to the net to shoot.
The Minutemen gave up too many power plays to Providence which kept up too much time in their defensive zone. Luckily they killed all seven penalties, but weren’t able to convert on three of their own. To be fair, Bobby Trivigno was miscalled for an interference as he and one other Providence player got tied up along the blue line. The puck had yet to cross the line and to keep an offside from being called, he tried to reach out further into the neutral zone. Having both players basically pushing on one another, this off balance brought both players down. It was amazing how the referees could call something as simple as that, but regret to call a penalty on the player who interfered with Oliver Chau as he had skated in close to the net to shoot later into the third. This took away a chance for UMass as 1) he could have scored and 2) it took away a powerplay opportunity.
The second of the two matchups on Saturday at least had a score, but it was 1-1 starting in the second period and did not change for the rest of the game. Lindberg got another chance in net and proved once more why he deserved the time between the posts. At 7:02 in the first Providence’s Printz was behind the net trying to do a wrap around maneuver and beat Lindberg to the post. To his dismay, Lindberg kicked out his foot and blocked the puck from crossing the goal line keeping the Minutemen in the game.
Josh Lopina is credited with the first goal for UMass and the only one scored in regulation time. It was a powerplay goal as Garrett Wait was tripped up by Providence’s Matt Tugnutt. Lopina battled on the rebounded puck and lifted it to the side of the goaltender, tying the game. As the 1-1 score held, the game again went on to 3 on 3 OT with no goals by either team which pushed it again to a shootout. UMass fans once more watched in anticipation as we hoped that the shoe would now be on the other foot and we can end this game with a UMass win. The shootout seemed to last forever as it went through four rounds before Zac Jones was able to finish it up for UMass. They finish this weekend with 6 points having two ties and one shootout win.
The schedule now calls for two new games against state rivals UMass Lowell. Lowell seems to have this idea that Massachusetts is their state, but our Flagship status says otherwise. Watch this Friday at 8 pm as the Minutemen take on the River Hawks for the first time this season.