LOWELL, Mass. — Senior Peter Zingoni tallied twice while classmate Cody Loughlean added a goal and two assists to lead all scorers as Providence built a 3-0 lead before finally coming away with a 4-2 decision Sunday afternoon in Hockey East action in front of 2,542 fans at the Tsongas Arena.
“We started the game really well, getting a 1-0 lead after one and two goals in the second period,” said Providence bench boss Paul Pooley. “Our next goal though was huge for us. UMass Lowell scored to start the third period, but coming back with Jason Platt’s goal was huge for us.”
British Columbia natives sophomore Ben Walter and freshman Cleve Kinley each picked up a goal and an assist for UML.
The Friars had the early advantage on the score sheet, taking a 1-0 lead at 4:25 of the first period. Senior Peter Zingoni broke into the River Hawk zone with the puck thanks to some help from linemate Cody Loughlean. Zingoni’s wrister from the slot beat UML netminder John Yaros low as the tally proved to be the only of the period, despite Providence collecting a 15-4 shot advantage.
Providence looked primed to increase its lead early in the second, generating quality opportunities down low, but Yaros made a pair of big saves to keep the River Hawks within striking distance, if only for a short time.
Loughlean added to the Friar lead at 12:56 in the second when he redirected a Stephen Wood shot from the left point in front of the net, making it 2-0 Providence.
Zingoni notched his second goal of the game just before the end of the second stanza. Collecting a loose puck in neutral ice, Zingoni skated unobstructed to the River Hawk net, peeling to the left when he hit the dots and lifting his shot high over the shoulder of Yaros at 18:45.
The River Hawks showed signs of life in the third period, scoring just 22 seconds into the deciding frame. Hockey East Rookie of the Week Cleve Kinley picked up his third goal of the season by burying an Andrew Martin pass from the corner on the low left side.
Providence pushed its advantage back to three within seconds of the UML tally. Senior defensemen Jason Platt collected his second goal of the season at :58 of the third to make it 4-1 Friars.
Walter potted his first goal since returning to the lineup on Friday against Northeastern after missing four games due to injury. On the penalty kill, Walter skated with the puck through neutral ice into the Providence zone with only one defender to beat. The sophomore center lifted his shot high from the left faceoff dot and rang the puck off the inside supports at 4:57 of the third, bringing the River Hawks back within two.
The River Hawks pulled their netminder in the waning minutes in favor of the extra attacker, but could not complete the comeback. Sophomore Bobby Goepfert made a total of 22 saves in net for the Friars, while Yaros stopped 31 shots. Neither team saw production on the power play, as Providence went 0-for-3 on the evening, while UML was unable to convert on its two chances.
“We struggled from warmups before the game, and it got worse,” said UML head coach Blaise MacDonald. “As the head coach, I take responsibility for the team’s play and preparation. At the same time I compliment Providence for their performance today.”
“To use a Herb Brooks quote, ‘We’re playing worse and worse every game, and right now we’re playing like it’s next year.’”
Friday UMass Lowell (8-18-4, 5-9-2 HE) will begin a home-and-home series against No. 10 New Hampshire at Tsongas Arena, while Providence (13-9-6, 5-8-5 HE) hosts Boston University in the Friars’ lone game of the weekend on Saturday. Both games are slated for a 7:00 p.m. start.