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AMHERST, Mass. - UMass and Providence battled to a 3-3 tie on Saturday night at the Mullins Center with both teams tallying goals in the final 1:06 of play. Freshman Michael Lecomte put UMass ahead by one at the 1:06 mark, but with six seconds remaining, junior Matt Taormina tied the game for Providence. The Minutemen are now 2-2-2 overall and 0-1-2 in Hockey East, while Providence moves to 1-4-1 overall and 1-1-1 in conference play. UMass faces Merrimack next Saturday at 7 PM at the Mullins Center.
Providence lifted junior goalie Chris Mannix for the final minute in favor of an extra attacker, and the strategy paid off as Taormina batted the puck out of mid-air from right in front of the net, past UMass freshman goalie Paul Dainton. Sophomore John Cavanagh and Jon Rheault were credited with the assists.
Senior Matt Burto stole the puck from a Providence defender right after a face-off in the Providence zone, and fed the puck to Lecomte for UMass' third goal of the game. The goal came on the power play and was Lecomte's first career collegiate goal.
The Minutemen were on the short-end of ar controversial no-goal call for the second consecutive night. P.J. Fenton had a breakaway and shot the puck between Mannix's legs, and eventually squirted through with eight minutes remaining in the third period. The goal was waved off though as Fenton crashed into Mannix, dislodging the net.
Both teams exchanged goals earlier in the period. Sophomore Will Ortiz deflected a blue-line shot from senior Mike Kostka to put UMass ahead 2-1 at the 5:53 mark. Providence responded less than two minutes later though with a goal from junior Kyle Laughlin, assisted by Rheault and senior Trevor Ludwig.
Providence scored the first goal of the game at the 14:28 mark in the second period on the power play from junior Pierce Norton, with assists from freshman Eric Baier and Rheault. UMass evened the game at one though with just 1:10 remaining in the period when Brian Keane tipped a shot from Mike Kostka past Mannix.
The first period was scoreless despite UMass holding an 11-6 advantage in shots. UMass' best chance to score came at the end of the period on a power play, on which Mannix made four saves.
UMass finished with a 40-28 advantage in shots. Dainton made 25 saves, while Mannix made 37.
The Minutemen are now 1-0-2 at the Mullins Center this season.