Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Hockey: Minutemen sweep pair with Providence

By Ryan Fleming, Collegian Staff

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Massachusetts hockey team overwhelmed Providence twice this weekend, extending its unbeaten streak to five games and making a statement to the rest of the Hockey East.

UMass exploded for 14 goals in two victories over the Friars: a 9-4 home win Friday and a 4-1 victory Saturday in Providence.

James Marcou led the way for the Minutemen (4-1-1, 2-0-1 HEA) in the home opener Friday, netting two goals and three assists, leading the Minutemen to the 9-4 win.

Early in the first period, UMass found itself down 2-0 and seemingly off-balance in front of a once-enthusiastic crowd.

But the Minutemen stormed back scoring three straight goals. Cory Quirk, Marcou and Alex Berry tallied 11 points on the night and 19 total on the weekend.

“They seem unselfish, they have a nice compliment of skills there that add up in them scoring goals,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said after Saturday night’s win.

The Minutemen opened the scoring in Saturday’s contest at the 4 minute, 39 second mark in the second period.

On the power play, Justin Braun entered the Providence zone with a slap shot that deflected off Friar goaltender Chris Mannix’s right pad, into the center slot where Chris Davis was stationed. Davis backhanded the puck through Mannix’s legs for the power play goal.

“It was important, we got off to a fast start,” Davis said of his goal. “Getting that first shot and the first goal was really big for us.”

Four minutes later, again on the power play, UMass would register its second goal.

Marcou and Quirk started the play, passing perfectly to each other, causing Providence (2-4-0, 0-4-0 HEA) forwards to challenge them and leaving Berry wide-open. Berry wristed the puck high, sophomore center Michael Lecomte deflected the puck glove-side past Mannix (20 saves). After their second power play goal of the night, the Minutemen stood at 8-for-30 (26 percent) with the man advantage.

Physical play also increased in the second period from an incident back in the first.

At the 15:37 mark, back in the opening period, Friar Ben Farrer was penalized for an elbow on Marcou. Immediately Marcou’s younger brother, Michael, took notice, as did Berry.

UMass would seemingly put the game away at 12:30 of the second period on Marc Concannon’s second career goal. The sophomore fired a shot into the top right of the net, skimming the crossbar on its way in, after receiving a pass from Quirk in the right circle.

Providence, though, would put the game within reach. On a wraparound attempt by Austin Mayer, the puck deflected off Paul Dainton’s chest, bouncing in front of him, right to looming Friar Matt Germain who fired past Dainton (24 saves).

Dainton, in his first full game back from an injury played well. The sophomore came out of his crease, aggressively challenging Providence attackers and cutting off shooting angles. Dainton also was the Minutemen’s best penalty killer, stopping all eight shots he faced on six PC power plays.

UMass has killed their last 18 penalties. Sticking to coach Cahoon’s system has lead to its effectiveness.

“Just sticking with the system, working hard and getting pucks out,” UMass defenseman Justin Braun said. “It’s when you start running around you get in trouble.”

UMass countered the Providence goal, with a goal of its own, the game-winner.

Berry, in the Friars’ left corner noticed a charging James Marcou and fired the puck toward the net. The puck ricocheted off Marcou’s body, past Mannix, who was pulled following the second intermission and replaced by Justin Gates.

The Minutemen added insurance on Braun’s third point of the night. The junior found himself in the perfect spot to bury home a rebound that deflected into the center slot off Marcou’s stick.

UMass’ next game is against Merrimack Nov. 8.

Game notes

The last time UMass scored at least eight goals in a game was back in 2006 against Connecutict

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