Worth the Wait: UMass dominates Providence in its return to play

Garrett Wait tallies four points in the Minutemen victory

Collegian+File+Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Colin McCarthy, Collegian Staff

After over three weeks without playing a game, the Massachusetts hockey team got back on the ice and back into the win column with an 8-1 victory at Providence on Tuesday.

No. 9 UMass (12-5-3, 12-5-3 Hockey East) seemed largely unaffected by the pause, as it had the No. 14 Friars (9-7-4, 9-7-4 HEA) on their heels out of the gate, and never relented.

“It’s as well as we’ve played all year,” coach Greg Carvel said after the game. “The execution of our game plan was real strong, led to some quality scoring chances… Really strong statement from our group as we get close to playoffs.”

Carson Gicewicz got the ball rolling just over three minutes into the contest, netting his eleventh of the season. Less than a minute later, Ty Farmer corralled the puck in front and potted a goal of his own to give UMass a 2-0 lead.

Farmer’s goal was assisted by Garrett Wait, and was the first of three straight that were either scored or assisted by the Minnesota transfer.

A quick goal from Wait to Josh Lopina gave the Minutemen a 3-0 lead to open the second. Shortly after, a defensive breakdown allowed Providence to capitalize on a 2-on-0 breakaway for its first and only goal of the contest.

The Wait show continued the rest of the night, highlighted by an unassisted goal midway through the second. The Junior flashed his stick skills and sucked the life out of the Friars, finishing the night with two goals and two assists.

“He’s one of the more gifted offensive players we have,” Carvel said of one of Wait. “His ability to score and make plays around the net is strong, so he’s been a real nice addition.”

When all was said and done, 11 UMass skaters put their names on the scoresheet, including seven different goal-scorers.

“It’s good to get production all the way through the lineup,” Carvel said. “Front-end, back-end, everybody was contributing tonight.”

Special teams continued to shine, as has been the case all season. The Minutemen penalty kill held off both Providence attempts, while the power play went 3-6 against one of the best PK units in the country.

And after the Friars took a five-minute major in the third frame with the game well in hand, Carvel had an opportunity to experiment with his man advantage.

“We just rolled lines out there,” Carvel said. “It was fun to see kids who don’t usually get powerplay zipping pucks around and just being really good hockey players.”

Equally as outstanding as the Minutemen special teams was the play of Filip Lindberg, who earned his fifth-straight start and ended the night with 30 saves, only allowing one goal. Lindberg has not given up more than a single goal in any of those five games.

The only area where Providence seemed to have a leg up on UMass was at the faceoff dot, where it went 30-68. But that wouldn’t amount to anything, as the Minutemen forecheck won puck battles to keep possession in the offensive zone.

All in all, UMass rode out of Rhode Island with a momentum-building win, as it prepares to take on No. 1 Boston College on Friday.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.