Scoreless through 65 minutes, Providence beats UMass in a shootout

UMass’ winless streak extends to three games

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Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Sports Editor

With just six and a half minutes left on the clock, the Massachusetts hockey team thought it had broken the 0-0 tie. Bobby Trivigno’s shot got behind the Providence goaltender and seemed destined for the back of the net. Josh Lopina already had his arms up in celebration behind the net. However, the puck snuck wide of the far post, a recurring theme in a game that went to a shootout after 65 scoreless minutes.

It looked as though the team’s scoring struggles might not end, even in the shootout as both squads came up empty on their first three tries. Then, after Josh Lopina was stopped for the Minutemen (9-5-2, 9-5-2 HEA), Brett Berard scored for the Friars (5-5-3, 5-5-3 HEA) to grant them a shootout win.

“It was tough,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel said, “but the kids were resilient.

“I don’t think it was low scoring because there weren’t any chances…I think it was more about goalies playing particularly well tonight and maybe just puck bounces.”

Much of the scoring troubles for UMass could be attributed to the amount of time the maroon and white spent in the penalty box. Though Providence failed to break through on the man advantage, the Minutemen had to kill seven penalties, putting a halt to any and all momentum they had gained on the 5-on-5.

“Apparently they’ve taken checking out of hockey,” Carvel said after the game, “and forgot to tell our players.”

Through two periods, the lack of consistent pressure showed. UMass—a team known for peppering opposing goaltenders with shots—had only nine shots on goal, a number that was dwarfed by the Friars’ 20.

The third period saw the Minutemen flip a switch. Needing a goal to break the scoreless tie, UMass outshot Providence 17-5 and largely stayed out of the penalty box, committing just one infraction. On top of the near miss by Trivigno, the Minutemen generated a majority of their scoring chances down the stretch.

“We didn’t have to kill that many penalties in the third period,” Carvel said. “Its hard to play when you have to kill the whole game. It gave a chance to get some momentum going. Its tough to get momentum going when the other team gets that many power plays.

Even as the game moved into overtime, UMass seemed to have control of play. While shots on goal finished 2-2 in the frame, it was UMass who earned multiple breakaways and held the puck for most of the five minutes.

While the Minutemen may have been struggling to find the back of the net in the offensive zone, they were making life equally as hard on Providence on the other end. Despite outshooting UMass for much of the game, Filip Lindberg kept the Friars off the board, stopping all 27 of the shots he faced.

The start was Lindberg’s first since Nov. 28 against Boston College. There were no signs of rust however as Carvel went to his junior netminder trying to end a two-game skid.

“He earned it,” Carvel said of Lindberg. “He was awesome.”

UMass and Providence will have at least another 60 minutes tomorrow to try to score again. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. in Providence.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] He can be followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.