Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass sweeps Providence in overtime, 2-1

Ryan Ufko scores overtime winner
Jonathan Shi
Daily Collegian (2023)

Ryan Ufko skated through the offensive zone determined to find a win for the No. 15 Massachusetts hockey team in overtime.

Ufko kept the puck on his stick, gliding through No. 5 Providence (8-3-2, 4-2-2 Hockey East)  players easily after Kenny Connors passed it to him on the blue line. As Ufko skated in front of the crease, he popped the puck into the net as he fell over the Friars goaltender to cement a 2-1 win.

“They were in the O-zone for a bit so we knew their guys were tired,” Ufko said. “I circled back up and Taylor [Makar] and [Connors] kind of set up a little pick play and once I saw that I knew I had my guy beat.”

UMass (8-3-1, 4-2-1 HEA) did not find itself on the board until just under three minutes left in the third period. Lucas Vanroboys shot the puck at the net and Jack Musa who was in the perfect place redirected the puck to tie the game and send UMass into overtime.

“We preached that message that we could comeback from one goal and lucky enough when [Musa] tied it the energy really changed and we just took it from there,” Ufko said.

Scoring broke open at the 11:32 mark of the second period for the Friars. Cal Kiefiuk passed to Graham Gamache. The freshman slipped the puck in-between goaltender Michael Hrabal’s legs for his first goal of the season.

To make matters worse for UMass, two minutes after the goal, the Minutemen took their second too many men penalty of the game.  The penalty turned into a 4-on-4 after Chase Yoder was called for interference. While UMass had opportunities, they could not capitalize on chances.

The Minutemen killed off four penalties, including a five minute major.

“The penalty kill had to be really good,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “We took too many too many men on the ice penalties, I think there [were] three in the game which is quite unusual. Our penalty kill was really good this week and it was a big factor.”

The Minutemen took an early loss with Michael Cameron leaving the game early in the first period. Lucas Mercuri chipped the puck to Cameron and as the sophomore attempted a shot at net, he was hit by a Friar. Cameron fell to the ice then skated to the bench and did not come back.

With the loss, the top line cycled players in and out with Christian Sanda as the main player in for most of the three periods.

Then, in the second period with under three minutes left, Aydar Suniev was ejected from the game for a knee-to-knee call. With Cam O’Neill serving the five-minute major, the Minutemen were left with just nine forwards.

“We didn’t have energy, we didn’t have many guys that had legs,” Carvel said. “Cameron is one of our speed guys and Suniev owns the puck a lot. You take those two guys out of the lineup, we didn’t dress an extra forward, we dressed an extra defenseman. It’s a tough combination when your energy is low and you’re asking guys to double shift.”

As the second period ended, Mercuri caught a Friar with his skate on the wrist. Due to the injury, the start of the third period was delayed a few minutes.

Before the five-minute penalty, UMass had looks at the net that Svedeback stopped. Scott Morrow shot the puck at the goaltender and as it went in the air, before a Minuteman player could finish off the play, Svedeback eliminated the chance.

Taylor Makar also took a scoring opportunity, skating through the zone with a Friar defender on him. Makar attempted to swipe the puck behind Svedeback but the puck hit the post.

In the first period, Providence looked to be the best team on the ice with 14 shots on goal compared to UMass’ seven. Freshman goaltender Hrabal stood tall in net, eliminating chances of goals in the period.

“To find a way to win that game was fortunate, I give the kids credit, they played hard,” Carvel said.

The Minutemen will look to continue against the Harvard Crimson on the road on Friday, Nov. 24. Puck drop is set for 4:30 p.m.

“We’re the best team in the country when we want to be and we showed that [on Saturday] and Thursday,” Musa said.

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

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