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Marcou, Dainton monumental in victory

HockBThe Massachusetts hockey team received stellar play from James Marcou, Paul Dainton, and the power play unit to kick off its season with a 5-2 victory over Rensselaer at the Mullins Center on Thursday night.

Marcou led the Minutemen offense against the Engineers, tying a career-high with four assists in the contest. The junior forward had a hand in the two goals scored by sophomore Matt Irwin and the first collegiate goal scored by freshman Rocco Carzo. Marcou’s previous four-assist game came last season against then No. 3 Northeastern in a 6-4 win.

Having six of the top 10 scorers return from last season, Marcou feels comfortable in the potent UMass offense.

“My line of guys that I’ve been playing with is pretty much the same as last year, so we kind of know where everyone is,” Marcou said.

UMass coach Don Cahoon has high praises for Marcou, and understands that he’s the focal point of the Minutemen offensive attack.

“He’s a pretty creative kid, so it’s not surprising,” Cahoon said. “He’s hard to contain in that situation. That’s his gift, and we try to give him the opportunity to bring it forth the best he can.”

On the other side of the puck, Dainton was a stable force in net for UMass, swatting away 28 shots while holding the Engineers (0-1) to two scores for the game.

“Paul looked like he was comfortable tonight. He looked like he was confident tonight,” Cahoon said. “He seemed to be following the puck and he gave me a sense of security and confidence, so I have to believe the rest of the players felt the same way.”

Dainton’s steady play was especially significant on a night when UMass and Rensselaer combined for 24 penalties.

The Minutemen, however, were the team to take advantage of the whistles and went 4-for-10 on the power play, while the Engineers struggled, going 1-for-7.

Rensselaer didn’t help its own cause, losing two players to penalties at times. UMass was able to take advantage of the five on three play and added two more goals.

RPI coach Seth Appert expected many calls to go in favor of UMass, but felt that his team wasn’t prepared to surmount the high number of penalties.

“This point in the season, you haven’t had enough time to work to be that comfortable to kill that many,” Appert said. “We knew coming into a Hockey East building that we would have a lot of calls against us, but we also added to it.”

Taking to account that this game kicked off the college hockey season, the referees seemed to be making a point of what calls would be enforced this year. Cahoon, however, understands that even the referees had to shake of some rust.

“Their season is just beginning too,” he said. “Their feel isn’t quite the same right now as it might be a month from now, but in fairness to the referees, the teams don’t have the same feel.”

All-in-all, the Minutemen were able to pull out a victory to begin the season on the right foot, but Cahoon will look to keep working and fixing areas of concern.

“We have to find a way to play a whole lot better, and there are a lot of aspects of this game that need to be improved, but fortunately, the power play was in tune tonight.”

Jay Asser can be reached at jasser@student.umass.edu.

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