UMass will face off against Providence on Friday in third matchup this season

The Minutemen are coming off a loss to Boston University

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Luis Ramirez/ Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts hockey team has just a few days to rest before it plays in a tough matchup against Providence on Friday. The No. 9 Minutemen (12-7-2, 9-3-2 Hockey East) are coming off a loss to Boston University on Tuesday.

“We would have liked to play well Tuesday night, just [to] quickly move past that game,” head coach Greg Carvel said Thursday. “[Instead] we had to spend yesterday addressing the slow start and being ready to play.”

UMass has had very little time to rest over the past week, starting its hectic schedule with a sweep of Northeastern including a 6-0 win on Saturday night. However, on Tuesday, the Minutemen began the game slow, allowing Boston University to score three goals in the first period and ended the game with a 6-4 loss. The Terriers handed UMass its first regulation loss in conference play.

Carvel addressed the disparities in the game on Saturday and on Tuesday, having a large part of practice on Wednesday being focused on consistency and coming out strong from the first whistle.

Games between the Minutemen and the No. 17 Friars (16-9-2, 7-7-1 HEA) are expected to be low scoring, and their first matchup of the year on Nov. 5 was just that. Scott Morrow was able to get the puck in the back of the net and Matt Murray recorded a shutout leading UMass to a 1-0 victory. The following night’s game remained low scoring until the final period, with UMass scoring four additional goals, including two on the powerplay, and winning 5-1.

Brett Berard leads Providence with 28 points this season, including 13 goals and 15 assists. The New York Rangers draft pick recorded an assist on the only goal scored against the Minutemen in the series earlier this year and it will be the defense’s job to contain and prevent him from generating scoring opportunities.

“We know each other very well,” Carvel said. “Two teams play very similar. Expect a low scoring game on Friday.”

Providence is coming off a successful weekend, defeating Boston College 7-0 on Friday and getting the extra point against the Eagles in a shootout on Saturday. The Friars sit in fifth place, tied with Merrimack, in conference standings, but will look to move up and defeat UMass who is seated in second.

Since returning from injury, Josh Lopina has been a staple to the Minuteman offense, dominating on face offs and creating opportunities. Lopina went 18-for-29 on face offs Tuesday and recorded an assist on the goal scored by captain Bobby Trivigno in the second period.

“We’re pretty healthy for the most part, missing one or two guys, seems game-to-game,” Carvel said of the current health status heading into Friday.

Colin Felix, who before Tuesday had not missed a game in his collegiate career, is expected to return for the game against Providence. Linden Alger stepped into the lineup but was later replaced by Aaron Bohlinger. Now with Felix back, it is likely that Ryan Ufko will move back up to the first defensive pairing with Matthew Kessel, and Felix will play alongside Slava Demin.

UMass will take the ice and play against Providence at 7 p.m. on Friday night at the Mullins Center.

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @SophieeWellerr.