Providence Recap

Phew.  While I can’t say I’m thrilled that UMass only got a point against a Providence team that hasn’t won a Hockey East game in months, anything less would’ve been absolutely devastating.  But with the point UMass moves back into 7th place all alone just ahead of Vermont and remains 3 points ahead of 9th place.  Other than a missed opportunity at another point, last night’s result means that Providence now owns the tiebreaker against the Minutemen with a record of 1-0-2.

The game itself saw UMass jump out to a 2-0 lead, dominate in shots throughout, yet found themselves losing in the final seconds of the game.  Only some last second heroics from Joel Hanley and Chase Langeraap prevented this from being the second disastrous weekend in a row.  UMass played well throughout but the difference was they were simply outmuscled at times by Providence and this directly led to their second and third goals.  After giving up a power play goal to allow Providence to cut it to 2-1 Derek Army just pushed his way to the front of Paul Dainton and was able to stuff the puck past him for the tying goal.  UMass cannot allow players to campout a couple feet in front of the net.  On the third Providence goal Joel Hanley was just overpowered directly to the side of the net which resulted in an easy turnover and a quick goal.  UMass dominates throughout but a power play goal and Providence just being more of a hard-nosed team was able to overcome UMass’ skill advantage.  While I’ve been complaining about undisciplined play I can’t criticize the Doug Kublin interference penalty that led to Providence’s extra man goal because quite frankly it did not happen.  The Hockey East office has sent a steady stream of sub par officials west to the Mullins Center and David Hansen and Tom Quinn were just the latest.

While Hanley was pushed off the puck that led to Providence’s 3rd goal, he did do his best to make up for it by setting up Chase Langeraap in front for the game tying goal in addition to his goal in the first.  The Hanley goal came on the rush thanks to another nice cross ice pass from T.J. Syner who played fantastic all weekend.  It was also good to see Mike Marcou pick up a goal as well, his first since October.

So UMass kept lost a point of Vermont on the weekend but still remains just ahead.  And they kept their distance from Providence though the Friars did gain the tiebreaker in the process.  Another win should be able to secure a playoff spot, but UMass should really be looking to hold on to that 7th spot.  Not only will it result in slightly better seeding in terms of a quarterfinal opponent, but it will be something to hang their hat on considering where most people picked them to finish at the start of the season.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Chase Langeraap
Certainly the hero of the night given his ability to find the back of the net at just the right time.  He did so by doing what I was screaming for UMass players to do all night; planting themselves on Alex Beaudry’s doorstep.  Langeraap now has 7 goals on the season, a huge improvement considering he didn’t score at all last year.  Great to see him step things up and become a key player on this team in his senior year.

Dick Baker credits Tim Army with a key time out call that led to their comeback.

Next up for the Minutemen is Merrimack who had an impressive sweep of UNH this weekend.  Really impressive considering they were without Stephane Da Costa for last night’s game as he is currently on crutches.

Attending the game last night were a host of former UMass players who were in town to play in the Alumni game which took place earlier in the afternoon.  I’ll have some coverage of the alumni in tomorrow’s post.