The Providence College Friars got goals from captains Kyle MacKinnon and Ian O’Conner, as well as a tally from Aaron Jamnick, as they defeated the University of Massachusetts Minuteman 3-2 in their first home game since October 8.
Saturday’s game was the back-end of a home-and-home series this weekend that began with a 3-3 tie on Friday night at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. The Friars were returning home, where they had only played once, a win, back on October 8 against the Northeastern Huskies.
UMass and Providence entered the contest as teams heading in the wrong direction. The Friars were trying to end a five-game winless streak while the Minutemen were looking for their first victory of the season.
“We competed, we had 30-sum-odd shots,” said UMass coach Don ‘Toot’ Cahoon after the loss. “We want to be disciplined, we want to play that way. It gave us an opportunity to get the equalizer. We just weren’t able to finish the plays.”
Providence netminder Alex Beaudry, 1-4-1 entering the game, stood on his head for the Friars and was the team’s best penalty killer, saving his highlight saves for when the Minuteman had the man-advantage. Beaudry entered the game with a .886 save percentage, 3.66 goals against average, and made 32 saves in the win.
“He’s been really good,” said Providence head coach Tim Army. “He looked sharp. He was on top of his game. He’s been really strong, at BU and then this weekend.”
Providence co-captain MacKinnon took the team points lead with a goal at 8:06 of the first period and an assist later in the game. MacKinnon’s team leading fifth goal made it 1-0 Friars on a two-on-one opportunity from Ben Farrer and Kevin Hart.
Jamnick added a power-play tally, his second marker of the season, and T.J. Snyer add a power-play goal of his own only eight seconds into a UMass man-advantage to make it 2-1 Providence going into the first intermission.
At the time of their second goal, the Friars were in a position to run away with the game, but a costly unsportsman like penalty to O’Connor gave the Minutemen the man-advantage, which they capitalized on almost instantly.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Army. “We never really got a chance to play with the two-goal lead.”
O’Connor made up for his early miscues, four penalty minutes in the first period, by scoring the Friars’ second power-play goal at 9:18 of the third frame on a pass from MacKinnon and Matt Bergland.
“You got to show more discipline than that,” said Army on Ian O’Connor’s penalties. “It makes them [the team] feel better when they [MacKinnon and O’Connor] are contributing.”
In the third, UMass went on three early power plays, but a shot missed by inches and a glove save by Beaudry kept the Minutemen off the board. UMass still could not capitalize, even after Friars defenseman Daniel New was called for interference exactly as a previous Providence penalty ended.
The Minutemen made the game a one-goal game at the 12:47 mark of the third. Michael Pereira chased down a Friars turnover and slid the puck past Beaudry and into the net as the Providence goalie tried to clear the puck around the faceoff dots.