AMherst UMass hockey goalkeeper Matt Murray earned his first shutout of the season, and freshman Scott Morrow scored the only goal of the game when the No. 12 Minutemen took a 1-0 win over No. 7 Providence 1-0 on Friday night at home.
The game winner came over at 13:30 in the closing period, when freshman Lucas Mercuri found his classmate Morrow in front of the net.
We’ve had some good attacking defenders here and (Morrow) will be near the top, said UMass coach Greg Carvel. It took him about four games to find out what he can do at this level. You can see he has a lot of confidence and his game without the puck gets better too. He has been excellent the last few games.
Morrow has scored in back-to-back games and is second behind senior captain Bobby Trivigno in total points of the season with six.
The win came despite UMass losing frontline center Josh Lopina and defender Aaron Bohlinger to injury earlier in the week.
Both the Friars (6-4, 3-1 Hockey East) and UMass (5-2, 3-0 HEA) had four drafted defenders in their lineups on Friday night, and those strengths showed when the first two periods went scoreless.
The Minutemen controlled the ice in the first period, beating Providence 9-2. The Friars were able to create more chances in the second and fired 12 more pucks into the net, but none of the 28 in the game reached the back of the net.
Id was a frustrated coach through the first six games, felt like UMass hockey tonight, Carvel said. It really felt like we were playing back on our identity.
The teams will play the second game of the home-and-home series Saturday at Schneider Arena in Providence, RI.
Friday’s clear performance was Murray’s 12th career shutout. The Minutemen had allowed more than 2.5 goals per game in their first six games of the year.
Providence was fifth in the nation in goals per game in their previous nine games to start the season. The last time the Friars were eliminated was against UMass on January 22, when former UMass goalkeeper Filip Lindberg was in the net.
“I thought we were terrible in the first period,” Providence coach Nate Leaman said. We didn’t move our feet at all. In the second and third we went pretty well, we just couldn’t get one from Murray. I think our offensive execution should be a lot better tomorrow night.
This game is also the first time the Minutemen have not committed a penalty under Carvel, and the first time the program has done so since October 2014. There was only one penalty in the game when Friars center Parker Ford was hit with a hooking call with just over three minutes to go.
They were prison rules, Leaman said. We had a man checked and the stick broke over him, and it wasn’t a penalty.
Tonight was a night where the umpires got to a point where they just weren’t going to yell anymore, Carvel said. There were a lot of things they could have mentioned, but I think the standard was at a point where it should be shameless, and I’m fine with that.
Despite playing the entire game on the second line, senior Anthony Del Gaizo took the first face-off for UMass. Carvel then went back to normal lines and had Eric Faith fill in for Lopina. Del Gaizo has netted one goal and assist this season, but his impact extends beyond the Minutemen stats.
“Hes so hard of a kid that we have,” said Carvel of Del Gaizo. He brings that every night, which is why he’s a guy we usually move up to plug holes. He is a catalyst for us.
In addition to hockey, the month of November ignites Movember, which draws attention to men’s health, especially mental health, suicide prevention, and prostate and testicular cancer. Sophomore goalkeeper Henry Graham suggested the idea to the team this year, prompting UMass to launch a fund for charity and raising more than $4,500 within the first five days.
The Movember website points to facts such as a man committing suicide every minute of every day and 1.4 million men worldwide are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.
Of course, this also means that UMass players are purring all month long. About 10-12 players will grow mustaches to support awareness of men’s health.
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