AMHERST, Mass. - In a back-and-forth contest that saw the UMass Hockey team erase a two-goal deficit, Providence scored the lone third period tally to edge the Minutemen, 5-4 at the Mullins Center on Friday night. Following the setback, UMass drops to 7-10-2 overall, 4-7-1 in Hockey East, while the Friars move to 8-8-3, 6-4-1 in conference action.
Senior Darren Rowe factored in three of UMass' four goals for a career-high three-point night on one goal and two assists. Posting his second straight multi-point night, junior Conor Sheary contributed a goal and an assist. Junior Conor Allen extended his point streak to six games with his tally, a season-best among the squad.
Providence promptly took the lead, scoring the first goal of the contest just 2:14 into the opening stanza on the Friars' first power play opportunity of the night. After receiving the puck from Mark Jankowski, Tim Schaller found Derek Army at the doorstep for the stuff in.
Seconds later, though, UMass came through with the equalizer to knot things up at 1-1. Rowe won the puck along the boards and touched it over to junior Patrick Kiley. Kiley's initial shot was turned aside by Jon Gillies, but the junior followed his own rebound and fluttered an attempt over the Providence netminder.
With the opening period winding down, Army regained the lead for Providence with his second of the night that put the Friars ahead, 2-1 going into the first intermission. Tim Schaller and Mark Jankowski earned assists on the play.
Early in the second, Sheary pulled the Minutemen level with a power-play goal at 4:14. After receiving the puck from Rowe and junior Michael Pereira in the high slot, he snapped a shot through traffic for his fourth goal of the year.
However, the Friars responded with back-to-back goals to stake the visiting squad to a 4-2 advantage. Shane Luke and Nick Saracino found Ross Mauermann on the rush to push Providence ahead by a goal at the 6:28 mark in the second. Stefan Demopoulos followed up by putting home a rebound off a Myles Harvey shot at 11:14.
With less than five minutes to play in the second, UMass responded with two tallies of its own to even the score at 4-4. Rowe began the rally, collecting a pass from freshman Shane Walsh and skating around several Providence players to wrist his attempt home at 16:15.
Just 1:09 later, the Minutemen struck again. After junior Branden Gracel sent a feed from Sheary wide of the cage, he dug the puck out from behind the net and connected with Allen, who was trailing the play. Allen ripped one past Gillies at 17:24 for is fifth of the season.
However, Demopoulous' came up with the short-handed goal for Providence at the 8:16 mark of the third and his second of the night proved to be the game-winner.
Shots finished even at 30 for each side while the Minutemen won 36-of-67 faceoffs (53.7%). Sophomore Kevin Boyle registered 25 saves for UMass, while Gillies turned aside 26 for the Friars. On the power play, Providence went 1-for-2 and the Minutemen were 1-for-5.
The teams will decide the season series with tomorrow night's matchup in Providence, R.I., set for 7 p.m. at Schneider Arena.