No. 14 UMass Knocks Off No. 15 Providence, 4-2
Nov. 1, 2003
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The No. 14 University of Massachusetts hockey team won its fifth straight road game, dating back to last year, in a 4-2 triumph over No. 15 Providence at Schneider Arena. UMass, which avenged a 6-2 loss to the Friars the night before, improved to 5-1-0 overall and 2-1-0 in Hockey East.
Just as in the previous night's contest, the Friars opened the game on a power play, but the Minuteman penalty-kill unit stopped another Providence power play, and went on one of their own moments after the PC opportunity. Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) and Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) both had shots from just inside the blue-line stopped by Friars' goalie David Cacciola. The Minutemen went on another power-play midway through the first period after a Stephen Wood tripping penalty at the 8:39 mark. The Minutemen had a golden opportunity on the extra-man attack, but Stephen Werner's (Chevy Chase, Md.) one-timer from the left doorstop was stopped by Cacciola on a beautiful save to keep the game scoreless. Through the first 12 minutes of the contest, UMass had outshot Providence, 15-1. After freshman Kevin Jarman (Aurora, Ontario) forced a tripping penalty on a breakaway, the Minutemen went on their third power play of the first period, and UMass got on the board first when Pöck blasted a slapshot past Cacciola's stick to the left post for a 1-0 advantage. Chris Capraro (Medford, Mass.) and Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) assisted on the goal. However, Providence tied the score at 1-1 on a Jason Platt goal past a screened Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.) at the 16:53 mark.
The two teams were in a process of feeling each other out in the opening part of the second period, and the Minutemen again used a power play to set up their second goal of the evening. Pöck tallied his second of the game on a rocket from just inside the blue line that beat Cacciola to the top corner gloveside at the 3:37 mark for a 2-1 advantage. Capraro had the primary assist on the goal while Josh Hanson (Medford, Mass.) tallied his first assist of the season on Pöck's netter. Providence had an excellent chance to tie the contest nearly six minutes into the stanza, when it went on its third power play of the evening, but Winer and the penalty-kill unit again stood tall to keep the Minutemen in the lead. UMass added to the lead on a great individual play by Mauldin. The junior forward carried the puck into the Providence zone, deked two Providence players from in close getting the defensemen to fall, and dished the rubber to Tim Vitek (Dresden, Ontario) along the right post, who in turn flipped the puck into the top of the net for a 3-1 advantage at the 12:54 mark. Nick Kuiper (Beaconsfield, Quebec) also assisted on the goal. After double minors were assessed on both teams at the 16-minute mark, Providence went on its fourth power play of the game, after a Sean Regan (South Boston, Mass.) penalty. The Minutemen were caught out of position immediately following the extra attacker and cut the margin to 3-2 at the 19:42 mark on a Luke Irwin goal with assists to Torry Gajda and Jonathan Goodwin.
Neither team mounted any serious threat in the opening seven minutes of the final 20 minutes. UMass kept Cacciola on his toes with four shots on goal, while the UMass defense held the Friars to one shot in the same timeframe. The Minutemen went on a power play eight-and-a-half minutes into the stanza. The Minutemen couldn't get set up in the Providence zone, and the Friars killed off UMass' sixth chance of the night. PC's Jeff Mason fired a low shot shortly after the kill, but Winer made a sprawling stick save to keep the UMass cushion at 3-2. The Minutemen nearly went up two goals when Mauldin wristed a slapshot that nearly beat Cacciola and Peter Trovato (North Attleboro, Mass.) came in on a breakaway, but Cacciola made two big saves to keep the Friars within striking distance. Providence had two golden chances to tie the game on rebounds, but couldn't stick the stick on a bouncing puck and UMass cleared the puck out of the zone each time. Again, with three minutes to play, Winer made four brilliant saves from in close to keep UMass with a one-goal advantage. The flurry had the Minutemen scrambling and the Friars buzzing, but Winer and the Minutemen stood tall, stopping every Providence chance. With 22 seconds left in regulation time, Mike Warner (Waltham, Mass.) scored the an empty-net goal with an assist from Mauldin for the 4-2 victory. The win was UMass' fifth in a row on the road, dating back to last season.
The Minutemen will battle Merrimack next weekend in a home-and-home series. On Friday, the Minutemen will travel to Merrimack for a 7:00 p.m. face-off, before hosting the Warriors Saturday night at the Mullins Center at 7:00 p.. For ticket information, call the UMass ticket office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.