Op-Ed: #5 UMass Hockey was embarrassed on the ice this past weekend, losing both games to #14 Providence in heartbreaking fashion

Between the referees and the Minutemen’s sloppy play, Providence was bound to sweep the men in maroon.

After being up 3-1 going into the second period, the Minutemen fell apart, losing 4-3 in overtime against the Providence Friars Saturday night at the Mullins Center. This loss not only completed the sweep for the Friars after Friday’s win, this is also the Minutemen’s first loss at home all season. After a shaky Merrimack series, this was bound to happen. The fight was not there for UMass; they were flatout outplayed.

However, along with the subpar effort all weekend long for the Minutemen, there was also some poor officiating both nights of the series. Between a goal that was allowed on Friday night that should not have been, questionable icing calls, horrible timing on whistles, penalties the Friars got away with, and some weak penalties called against UMass, the men in maroon had no chance at even splitting the series with Providence. Referee Walker Holton and Linesman Bill Kingdon appeared in both games of the series, and both games were subpar for the two officials. 

Do not get me wrong here, out of the six (seven including overtime) periods of hockey played this weekend, UMass probably had two good periods. The officiating certainly brought the Minutemen down, but ultimately, their sloppy, mediocre play was the main thing that lost them this series. The first period in Friday’s game, going down 3-0 early, and the third period in Saturday’s game were both the worst by far for the Minutemen.

Some questionable coaching decisions were also made by head coach Greg Carvel, beginning with starting junior Cole Brady in net on Friday. In my last article, I wrote about the need to start hot UMass goaltender Luke Pavicich. Starting the backup, who ultimately played only one period this weekend, was a poor decision that opened the floodgates of unsatisfactory play during this series.

Carvel did make some line changes going into game two, notably throwing freshman defenseman Mikey Adamson into the fire starting in his first collegiate hockey game. Adamson scored his first goal in his first game in the second period, at the time extending the Minutemen’s lead to two goals.

The Minutemen are now 0-2-1 on the road, 5-3-1 on the year, and 1-3-0 in Hockey East play. UMass has another tough Hockey East matchup coming up next weekend against the currently ranked #11 Boston University Terriers. BU is coming off a series split against UMass Lowell, taking Saturday night’s game in overtime after losing 3-1 on Friday. 

Look for the Minutemen to come out strong against the Terriers at the Mullins Center on Friday; they are certainly not happy with the way that they have been playing and I think it should be a physical wakeup motivating series for the Minutemen. The #11 Terriers will not be taken lightly, they are a good team and at least one win would right the ship again for the men in maroon in a season that is still fairly young.

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