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Saturday Recap

I thought last night’s game would certainly be a test to see if UMass could truly change recent trend and give consistent effort each and every night.  Given the come from behind win the night before and return to the Mullins to take on the same team it seemed like a setup ripe for a letdown.  Sure enough, it was as UMass dropped their first game of the season 2-1 to Providence.  Essentially the Minutemen came out very flat in the first and allowed the Friars to take the lead on a soft goal 6 minutes in and by the time UMass got things going in the later periods Alex Beaudry had already settled in and denied their comeback chance.  I think if UMass sets the tone early last night the result is completely different but PC scoring just 6 minutes into the game gave them some confidence and they surely had enough skill to fend off whatever the Minutemen were going to throw at them after that.

I do give credit to the team for putting a great amount of effort into trying to wrestle the game back from the hands of Beaudry and the Friars.  It did look like we were in for a repeat of the night before after Matt Irwin scored on the power play at the beginning of the third.  But number one star Beaudry would not get beat again and made some outstanding saves in the final period.  Another reason why it was important to take control of the game early was the condition of the ice which due to the warm temperatures outside got worse as the game went along.  By the end of the game the slush was evident and made staging a late comeback that much more difficult. 

Hopefully a lesson is learned, come to play at the start of the game because you never know if conditions or a hot goaltender will be in your way later in the game.  We’ll see if this is the case in a couple weeks when UMass returns to league play.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Matt Irwin
I had a tough time choosing for this game.  I would’ve liked to give it to Will Ortiz for his all out effort especially late in the game, however his penalty in the first minute of the game did not do much for early momentum.  Instead it goes to Irwin who scored the lone goal for the Minutemen and continues his offensive dominance while playing solid defense at the same time.  Sophomore slump?  Not happening.

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Here’s the recap from the Gazette.

Toot says the team did not play with enough grit in the Republican recap.  I agree, once the soft ice negated the team’s speed it was going to be important to get pucks out of the corners and establish position in the offensive zone.  Those sort of things didn’t start happening until too late.

Lack of focus is discussed in the USCHO game story.

Elsewhere last night Lowell was able to take down BU at Agganis 3-2.  UNH got crushed by Wisconsin 6-1.  Merrimack will host Boston College this afternoon.

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Check out my updated Providence section on my Road Trip page with a couple places I stopped by on Friday.

I’m off to Connecticut for a couple days of vacation so I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting between now and mid-week.

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