The sophomore attack scored a combined eight goals in those two games, including a career-high five against the Friars (0-5).
After the loss to Harvard, UMass coach Greg Cannella cited one of the most widely-used sports clichés to describe how UMass can move forward.
“You can learn a lot from losing, but I don’t want these guys to become too smart,” Cannella said. “If you’re going to learn that much from losing, I’d rather not learn. You don’t like losing so you hope that what they learn is that there needs to be a great sense of urgency each time you step out there on the field.”
Kell showed this philosophy through his play on the field against the Friars by scoring in every quarter but the third and notching four goals by halftime. He also assisted on attack Mike Wilus’ goal at the 11th minute in the third quarter.
While Kell was a key contributor for the Minutemen (4-2), he was one of 11 players to score on one or more of the four Providence goalies used during the game.
Midfielder Ryan Hantverk scored the game’s first goal just before the 10-minute mark in the first quarter with an unassisted goal against the Friars’ starting goalie, Tim Finnegan (10 saves, nine goals against). In addition to his two goals on the day, Hantverk also added to his 17 points this season by assisting on one of Kell’s goals at the 11th minute of the second quarter.
Hantverk’s goal sparked an 8-0 run to start the game for the Minutemen that led to Finnegan exiting the game at the start of the second half in favor of Frank Cicero (three saves, three goals against).
UMass finished the game with a 14-9 face-off advantage, scoring on six of the draws. The Minutemen also cut down on turnovers (10) after committing 18 against the Crimson (4-1).
The UMass penalty kill fared better against the Friars, limiting Providence to one goal on their only extra-man opportunity after allowing four goals on seven power plays against Harvard.
Redshirt senior All-American Diogo Godoi anchored the defense for the Minutemen with a game-high three of the 13 caused turnovers against Providence.
Sophomore goalie Tim McCormack (two saves, two goals against) earned the win in the cage for UMass in 45 minutes of play before Cannella elected to put in freshman Steve Mahle (three saves, one goal against) after victory seemed all but imminent for the Minutemen.
After allowing 14 goals on 26 shots against the Crimson, Cannella showed that faith in his starting goalie wasn’t in question at this point in the season.
“We have a ton of confidence in Tim to make saves,” Cannella said. “We’re going to work with him like we do every day in practice. [Assistant coach Doc Schneider], who works with the goalies, prepares them in a fantastic way.”
On March 13, Harvard staved off a late comeback by UMass, but rattled off seven-straight goals in the second half and commanded extra-man scoring opportunities to earn the win.
The Minutemen held a 44-35 shot advantage, but a combination of patience on the offensive end and consistency and physicality on the defensive side of the ball led to a win for the Crimson.
Along with Kell’s three goals, attack Will Manny and midfielder Anthony Biscardi also had hat tricks on the day. Sophomore Greg Rushing aided the offense by winning 14-of-28 face-offs on the day.
Harvard put UMass on the defensive from the opening whistle, scoring the first three goals of the game. Harry Krieger (13 saves) earned the win in goal for Harvard.
Next up for the Minutemen is a 4 p.m. road game on Tuesday, March 23 at Brown.
Mike Gillmeister can be reached at email@example.com.