UMass hockey falls to Providence 4-1

By Jason Kates

Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Photo by Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

In its first of two games in the Catamount Cup, the Massachusetts hockey team was defeated 4-1 by No. 16 Providence College Sunday afternoon at the University of Vermont.

Special teams proved to be the difference, as the Friars (10-6-1, 6-4 Hockey East Association) tallied two goals in the third period: One on the power play and the other while being shorthanded.

Only 59 seconds into the third period, the Minutemen (4-13, 1-9 HEA) were rewarded a man advantage while trailing 2-1, but an unlucky bounce of the puck sent Providence the other way on a 2-on-1 break that led to a shorthanded goal courtesy of junior Brandon Tanev.

Although coach John Micheletto did not think that goal was a turning point in the contest, he felt it was a major momentum swing against his team.

“You have an opportunity to knot the game at two, but because of the flukiness of the way the puck hits off our guy’s glove at the offensive blue line, they get a break,” he said. “Certainly not the way we would have liked that to go.”

One minute, 19 seconds later, the Friars were able to extend their lead to 4-1 after an interference penalty to Ben Gallacher resulted in a power play goal from Providence’s Trevor Mingoia.

Following a scoreless first period, Providence got on the board first when freshman Brian Pinho scored six minutes into the second period. The Friars doubled the lead four minutes later when Mark Jankowski put his team up 2-0.

UMass cut the deficit to one with fewer than three minutes to go in the second period, thanks to a power play goal from Frank Vatrano, his 10th of the season.

Defenseman Brandon Montour, who was playing in his second game as a part of the Minutemen, recorded an assist, giving him his first career point at UMass.

That would be the only time the Minutemen would find the back of the net, as they were stymied by Providence goalie Jon Gillies, who made 22 saves.

Despite the result going in favor of the opposition, Micheletto believed his team’s effort and execution was as good as it’s been since its 3-2 win over No. 14 Quinnipiac on Nov. 28.

“We came with a lot of energy and good execution, made a lot of nice plays and carried the bulk of the action for two periods,” Micheletto said. “Obviously (Gillies) did a nice job of keeping us off the scoreboard and limiting the number of chances we would have liked.”

Micheletto decided to change up some of the line combinations against Providence. Unlike the usual combination of Vatrano, Ray Pigozzi, and Steven Iacobellis, it was Dennis Kravchenko instead of Iacobellis.

Iacobellis, who is second on the team with 13 points, was placed with Patrick Lee and Troy Power.

“I thought our lines worked very well tonight,” Micheletto said. “We’ll see what our health and availability is for tomorrow, but certainly with some guys healthy and coming back into the lineup I thought the lines worked out pretty well.”

With a quick turnaround against Air Force tomorrow at 4 p.m, Micheletto knows his team is anxious to get back on the ice and get their first win since Nov. 28.

“Looking at our guys’ eyes in the locker room afterwards, they’re eager to get up again because they felt that they were good and saw some improvement in certain areas that have been plaguing us before the break,” Micheletto said. “I know they want to get back at it tomorrow against (Air Force).”

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected]