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Men’s club hockey thumps Vermont, 8-1

Hockey season has begun, as the Massachusetts’ men’s club team started its season. The Minutemen began club play by dropping eight goals on Vermont this past Saturday with a final score of 8-1.        

“We didn’t stop hustling until the ref blew the whistle,” coach Robert Talloni said about the game.

Forwards Kevin Joyce and Alec Goolsby both scored a pair of goals for Massachusetts (1-0-0). Goolsby, who attained 10 goals and 32 assists in the 2008-2009 season and is the Captain this year, followed up his offensive scoring performance with two assists.

Forwards Chris McKenna, Reed Powers, Michael Bartlett, and Justin Gauvin also tallied scores for the UMass club team.

According to Talloni, while the first 10-15 minutes of the game were tight and anybody’s game, “it seemed like no time at all” until the Minutemen increased their lead to 4-0 by the end of the first period.

Goalie Mark Leonard, who allowed 58 goals in the previous season with one shutout, allowed the Catamounts (0-1-0) their solitary goal of the game. Vermont forward David Handy scored his goal in the second period.

After the goal by Vermont, the Minutemen, according to Talloni, “rounded out the rest of the game,” with three goals in the final period.

The final goal of the game was scored six seconds before the match’s conclusion.

Interestingly enough, the final game of last year’s regular season for the Minutemen, on Feb. 16, 2009, featured an 8-1 loss to Endicott.

Massachusetts will face the Catamounts again on Oct. 24, this time at home.

“We didn’t want to play Vermont in the winter,” said Talloni, who creates the schedule for the Minutemen.

Talloni, specifically requested the second half of their season be played mostly at home.

“I did it for the fans,” Talloni said. He cited attendance and a growing fan base as to why he scheduled the home games after the Holidays. “The fans will hopefully come and support the team.”

Despite their massive victory this Saturday, Talloni feels that Vermont will learn from its mistakes and adjust accordingly for the rematch against UMass..

“Our hustle and determination will hopefully be there,” said Talloni.

The Minutemen only had two practices prior to their season opener. Members of the team had little time to gel in their practices, as tryouts were a short time before the first practice of the season. Due to the tryouts, Massachusetts expanded their roster by 12 to a total of 28 players.

Talloni sited the loss of players resulted from reasons from economic problems to grade issues. He stated that hockey’s an expensive sport and that students found it financially taxing enough to attend school, let alone play club hockey.

“Our veterans were able to carry over [the experience from last season],” Talloni said referring to the expansion of players. “Goolsby did a super job at organizing motivation.”

Talloni, who is “very proud” that his team came together, compared this years team to another athletic competition.

“It’s almost like  a horse race. When the gate opens, they want to run around the track,” he said.

Last year, the Minutemen gained a playoff birth. They failed, however not only to win that game, but also missed out on regional tournament play.

“It was a tough year,” said Talloni, referring the 2008-2009 season.

The Minutemen travel next to the state’s capital on Friday to play Northeastern.

While he dislikes making predictions, Talloni gave a quick look into the future about where and when the season ends when he said, “We have no limit to our season.”

Herb Scribner can be reached at hscribne@student.umass.edu.

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