UMass freshmen provide scoring but show inexperience against Providence

All six freshmen find scoresheet on Saturday

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Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2022)

By Kayla Gregoire, Assistant Sports Editor

When the Massachusetts hockey team needed help, the freshmen were the ones to rise to the occasion, but also showed inexperience against Providence.

Down by four goals on Friday, the air had gone out of the Minutemen (5-3-1, 1-3-0 Hockey East). With the help of the first-year line skating down the ice, UMass got a taste of energy it needed in the second period.

The Friars (6-2-1, 4-0-1 HEA) offense had beaten the Minutemen’s defense and each line looked tired. Tyson Dyck putting the puck in the net brought life to UMass. To add on top of Dyck’s goal, Noah Ellis scored his first game of the season. Then, Kenny Connors added to the freshmen scoring in that second period to attempt to allow the Minutemen to claw their way back in the game.

Friday marked Connors’ fifth multi point game and fourth goal of the season. Connors now leads UMass in points with 11 points.

Due to the freshmen lines performance, they made their way to the second line in the lineup on Saturday. The young guys were also the ones to start the game, showing the trust that Carvel has gained in them.

On top of the freshmen line, Michael Cameron slotted into the first line as a center with seniors Reed Lebster and Cal Kiefiuk. Ellis made his way into the top defensive paring with Scott Morrow.

A new freshman found his way into the lineup for the first time with Linden Alger. Mikey Adamson skated in his first regular season game after only seeing time in the exhibition game against Sacred Heart.

Cameron was the one to give UMass an early lead in the second period. Lebster shot the puck at goaltender Philip Svedeback, but Svedeback had gotten a pad on the puck. As the puck bounced off the goaltender’s pad, Cameron got his stick on it for a 2-1 lead.

“I like [Cameron’s] speed but he’s still making young mistakes,” Carvel said. “It’s a tradeoff. The young guys give us more offense but they a lot of young mistakes.”

In the same period, Adamson’s nervousness in his first game went away. From the left side of the blue line, Adamson passed the puck to Kiefiuk. The freshman then quickly skated to the front of the net just in time to catch Kiefiuk’s pass. Adamson took no time in shooting the puck for his collegiate goal and a 3-1 UMass lead. Despite Adamson scoring his first goal of the game, he was unhappy with his game after allowing the puck past him multiple times.

“I don’t think I played great,” Adamson said. “Pretty cool to get the first one out. Would have rather won.”

Adamson’s goal has marked almost every freshmen in the lineup putting the puck in net. The only first year that has not scored in a game is Kennedy O’Connor. Adamson was close to a second goal after shooting at an open net in the third period but came up empty.

“It’s awesome,” Adamson said on freshmen scoring. “I’m pretty sure all of us have scored at this point. It’s a pretty cool accomplishment.”

Connors has continued to be one of the Minutemen’s most consistent forwards in the lineup. He added three shots on net, continuing to create offense anytime he stepped on the ice. Connors was the most successful forward in the face-off dot, going 50 percent.

As Connors has grown to the pace of college hockey, he also has started to add physicality to his game. Throughout Saturday he checked Providence players into the boards to keep them off the puck. Connors also was on the ice for most of the Friars goals after Providence players found a weakness to his game.

On Saturday, Dyck continuously made plays in the offensive zone to help his line mates add shots on goal. To start the game, Dyck used skill to dance through Friars to make his way towards net.

With having less than 10 games under their belt, the freshmen showed inexperience in their game. Dyck mishandled the puck and allowed Brett Berard to score in overtime.

“Playing the freshmen a lot because they are the ones to score the goals,” Carvel said. “They are also making a lot of young mistakes which aren’t too unexpected.”

Many misplays by the freshmen led to turnovers in the game. Ellis and O’Hara both had multiple plays that were put on a Friar’s stick in the game.

“The game is still coming to us,” Adamson said. “We’re still learning a lot of stuff. It’s good to get our goals out of the way and just move on, learn the defensive zone more. [Carvel] has been teaching us a lot of stuff.”

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.