UMass Hockey Comes Up Short In 4-3 Loss To #12 Friars
Feb. 21, 2014
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Despite scoring three power-play goals and closing a three-goal deficit to one in the third period, the UMass hockey team dropped a 4-3 decision at #12 Providence on Friday night. The loss leaves the Minutemen at 8-20-4 overall, 4-12-3 in Hockey East, while the Friars improve to 16-9-6 overall and 8-7-2 in conference action.
Seniors Branden Gracel and Michael Pereira both registered a goal and an assist apiece for UMass. Gracel's tally marked his team-leading 13th of the season, one shy of his career high, as he posted his 19th career multi-point game.
Pereira's goal was his 11th of the year and eighth on the power-play to tie him for fifth on UMass' all-time single season list for power-play goals. The multi-point effort was his 26th of his career and fifth in the past eight contests as he has logged six goals and six assists over the last nine games.
Senior Conor Sheary registered a helper to extend his point-scoring streak to eight straight, while Steven Iacobellis logged his 11th goal of the season to become the first true freshman to post 20 points in a season since 2010-11.
In a period controlled heavily by Providence, the Friars struck for an early goal at the 3:21 mark in the first. A feed from Nick Saracino and Shane Luke out of the corner found Kevin Hart for a one-timer in the slot.
Providence then extended its advantage to 2-0, 10:37 into the stanza. Brandon Tanev guided in a pass from Noel Acciari and Derek Army on a 2-on-1.
Despite being out-shot 13-7 by the Friars in the frame, UMass cut its deficit in half in the closing minutes on its first power play opportunity of the night. Junior Mike Busillo sent the puck to Pereira down behind the Providence net and Pereira found Gracel streaking down the slot at 17:24.
The Friars expanded their lead to 4 -1 with a pair of second period tallies, however. Acciari stuffed in a puck under the left pad of goaltender Steve Mastalerz for a power-play goal at 11:20. Paul De Jersey and Tanev earned assists on the play.
Then Mark Jankowski added Providence's fourth 15:51 into the second with a top shelf shot on the odd man rush.
The Minutemen mounted a spirited rally in the third, though, before falling just short of a comeback. Freshman Ray Pigozzi and Gracel fed Iacobellis in front for UMass' second of the evening at the 8:39 mark.
Less than five minutes later, Pereira made quick work of another UMass power play opportunity, knocking the puck home just seconds into the man advantage, 13:19 into the third period with Sheary and senior Colin Shea picking up the assists.
The Friars finished the contest with a 35-33 shot advantage as Jon Gillies made 30 saves in net for Providence, including 21 in the third period. Mastalerz had 31 stops for the Minutemen.
UMass was 3-for-7 on the power play on the evening and the Friars were 1-for-6.
The teams will be back in action tomorrow night at the Mullins Center as the Minutemen host Providence in the squad's regular season finale. Prior to puck drop, UMass will honor the team's nine seniors with a special Senior Night ceremony.
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