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Albrecht’s first career goal clinches UMass hockey’s upset win over Providence Thursday

Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian

It took 10 games, but Massachusetts hockey freshman Austin Albrecht’s first career goal could not have come at a better time.

One minute, 43 seconds into the third period against Providence, Albrecht snapped a squibbler past Friar goaltender Hayden Hawkey seconds after a UMass offensive zone faceoff, to give the Minutemen a 3-2 lead.

Albrecht’s first tally proved to be the game-winner as UMass held on to upset No. 8/7 Providence 5-2 Thursday night at Mullins.

“It’s nice to get the monkey off my back,” Albrecht said. “I’ve been working on my shot a lot this week and in the past and it’s finally nice to pop one and get the boys going.”

Manning the left-wing spot on the Minutemen’s third line Albrecht finished the night with an even plus/minus (0), while also throwing three shots on the Friar cage.

“He’s an offensive player and he gets the puck in good spots,” UMass (5-5-0, 2-2-0 Hockey East Association) coach Greg Carvel said. “We’ve been asking him to work on his shot. He’s been an offensive producer everywhere he’s been, we expected him to be.”

The Flemington, New Jersey native’s goal right out of the gates kick-started UMass’ offense in the final frame as two more goals were scored—both empty-netters—in the upset victory over Providence (5-4-0, 2-3-0 Hockey East).

“I think everyone from top to bottom played very strong and very good,” added Albrecht. “Just happy to be me tonight but it could’ve been anyone.”

Not only was Albrecht’s goal the clincher but it also halted the Friars’ offensive momentum. The visitors answered each of the Minutemen’s two first period goals to tie the game at 2-2 in the second period, and looked to be gearing up for a strong push in the final 20 minutes.

Albrecht’s tally less than two minutes into the period put a serious dent in Providence’s hopes to knot the game though, while also signifying an important aspect of UMass’ growth as a feisty, young squad.

“I know we’ve been shutout a couple times, but I never start thinking that it’s hard for us to score,” said Carvel. “We get enough scoring chances. It was nice. It’s always nice to see the puck go in and they weren’t pretty goals.”

Friar coach Nate Leaman categorized Albrecht’s goal as a microcosm of the Minutemen’s success over Providence.

“I thought their third goal was basically about exactly the way we played tonight. [It was] a broken play on the faceoff, we have three guys standing right to next [Albrecht] that gets the puck, and all three of our guys just watch [Albrecht] shoot the puck. I didn’t think we wanted to play defense tonight. I thought we wanted a real easy game and I thought they played hard tonight. They deserved to win.”

With the goal, forward Philip Lagunov is the only UMass freshman to not score yet this season, meaning 10 of the 11 freshmen—not including goalie Matt Murray—have notched a goal in the first 10 contests.

“Yeah we were actually joking about that, who was going to be the last one [to score],” Albrecht said. “But it doesn’t really matter, we got the win and we’re moving forward.”

Carvel: “It was a one-goal game and it was a great stepping stone for our program.”

 

Ryan Ames can be reached at rames@umass.edu or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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