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Minutemen club win pair on ice against Northeastern, Sacred Heart

The Massachusetts’ men’s club hockey team had an adventure of a weekend, as they not only toppled Northeastern but also took down Sacred Heart at the Wonderland of Ice.

“It was an outstanding weekend, outstanding effort and a really great [end result],” said Head Coach Robert Talloni.

When the Minutemen (3-0-0) traveled to just outside the state’s capital, everything came together smoothly, as they shut down the Huskies by a final score of 2-1.

“We made up our mind that we had enough,” said Talloni, regarding the history between Northeastern and UMass.

The game against the Huskies was a hard-fought battle, right up until the very end. The Minutemen scored the first two goals of the matchup. A late surge by Northeastern failed to give them the advantage over the Maroon and White.

“There was a whole 20 minutes where we gave all we could give. Mark Leonard stood on his head and denied shot after shot,” Talloni said.

Junior Matt Coughlin scored the second goal of the game. “I’m sure the goalie didn’t even see it,” commented Talloni.

Following its tight victory over the Huskies (2-1-0), UMass traveled down the rabbit hole to the Wonderland of Ice. While in Bridgeport, the Minutemen defeated the Pioneers by the decisive margin of 6-3.

While Sacred Heart scored the first goal, the Minutemen did not succumb to the early pressure.

“We were so confident, we didn’t even panic,” Talloni said.

UMass mounted a comeback, and soon found themselves up 5-3. Ending the note on a high note for the Minutemen, Captain Alex Goolsby slapped the puck right into the netting.

“It was a shorthanded goal that was just beautiful,” Talloni said.

Things are looking up for the Minutemen as they currently stand undefeated, despite starting the season on the road away from their familiar home ice. Not to mention, after the first three games of the season, UMass has outscored its opponents by a dominating 16-5.

While the Minutemen won’t play Northeastern for the rest of the current season, they will play Sacred Heart (0-2-0) on Dec. 12, this time at the Mullins Center. The match against the Pioneers will be part of a five game home stretch for UMass.

Though it is possible for worry to set in on the Minutemen who are riding high on a string of victories, UMass is following the same patterns as last year’s squad. The previous year, the second game of the season featured the Minutemen facing off with Sacred Heart at the Wonderland of Ice as well. In this game, UMass outskated and outclassed the Pioneers by a score of 8-2.

The 2008-2009 UMass club hockey team also won the game prior (both games were away) before coming home and being trounced by Connecticut 10-2.

The Minutemen hope that their first home game of this season will be different, as they play against local rival Westfield State on Oct. 9.

“Once our skates hit the ice, especially home, it’ll be 100 percent effort,” Talloni said.

“We know what to do. We know how to read each other’s actions. He also stated the players on his squad “play the game well, read the game well but understand the game most importantly. They know what to do.”

Last season, UMass tied the Owls by a score of 6-6 on Nov. 1, a game that was tight right to the very end. The next match between the Minutemen and Westfield took place a week later, where the Owls could not catch enough opportunities on offense to produce as many goals as they had a week prior. UMass continued right from where they left off from the Nov. 1 contest, scoring five goals to best Westfield’s lone goal.

“We’re really looking forward to the opener,” Talloni said.

Following its first home game, UMass hit the road once more, as they head out to Troy, N.Y. to face off against Rensselaer. According to Talloni, the Minutemen have not played the Engineers.

On the rest of the upcoming season, Talloni said “We’re still looking for magic, to make things happen.”

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

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