UMass claims early lead, Dainton strong in goal as UMass hold off No. 2 BU
Tying his career-high in saves, Paul Dainton put on a spectacular performance in net for the Massachusetts Hockey team, laying the foundation for the team’s upset of No. 2 Boston University. The junior goalkeeper saved 39 shots as the Minutemen shocked the Terriers.
After coming out to an early lead, UMass (2-0-0, 1-0-0 Hockey East) were able to withstand a tough Terriers attack behind a solid defensive performance by the Minutemen and Dainton’s play in goal.
After outshooting BU (0-1-0, 0-1-0 Hockey East) 12-10 in the first period, the Minutemen struggled in terms of the shot battle. The Terriers held a 31-14 edge in shots through the final two periods. However, the Minutemen only let up one goal in that timeframe and none in the third period.
Dainton, who has seen consistent time since coming to UMass as a freshman, has shown tremendous growth between the pipes now in his third year, something that was not lost on UMass coach Don Cahoon.
“He’s stronger physically. And I think he’s more confident with his game, in terms of how to play situations and how he might handle a specific situation that either develops behind the net, off the side of the net, how to play through screens,” Cahoon said.
Dainton’s performance against the Terriers was another step in the intricate position of goalkeeper. With senior Dan Meyers in the midst of his three-game suspension, there was no better time for Dainton to truly show how much he has grown in his time with the Minutemen.
“That game is an art in itself, the goaltending game,” Cahoon said. “And so I think, with experience, you get growth and the, in his case, strength is a big factor and he’s really gained a lot of that in the past few years.”
Out of the gates
After stumbling out of the gate in its first two performances this season, the Minutemen finally showed up early in the first period. UMass’ early lead was enough to withstand a second period comeback bid by BU.
Freshman Rocco Carzo and sophomore Matt Irwin both scored within the first nine minutes of the game to give the Minutemen the early lead they lacked in their prior outings.
UMass fell into a 3-0 hole against New Brunswick in the team’s exhibition match, eventually falling 3-2 and had a 1-0 deficit against Rensselaer going into the second period. The slow starts were a concern for Cahoon, but against BU, UMass got the fast start it was looking for.
“It was great. I don’t know we were thinking we were going to get a two-goal jump,” Cahoon said. “We wanted to come and play hard from the get go, and that’s something we haven’t done in the two previous games. It was important not to come out and give up those two or three goals and get that team rolling [we] and could’ve been a long ways back.”
The closing seconds of Friday night’s game had all the tension of a March game in October.
That tension was never higher than in the closing seconds of the game when tied 2-2, the Terriers’ goalie was pulled and a crowd of 8,123 was on its feet, the Minutemen faced three straight key faceoffs in their own end.
“We had some good faceoffs in the second half of the third period. And obviously those last three were very crucial,” Cahoon said. “I thought Rocco Carzo won a big faceoff just a minute or two before that. I think our guys just understand the value of wining these zone faceoffs and when you’re killing a five-on-six, if you will, you need to come up with the puck.”
In the waning seconds of the game, after UMass called a timeout with 32 seconds, sophomore Casey Wellman won two faceoffs while senior Brett Watson won another as the Terriers failed to get a shot on goal with the man advantage.
BU had the edge in faceoffs on the night, 34-28. However, the Terriers couldn’t get the puck when they needed it the most as BU’s Nick Bonino (a game high 11-7 on faceoffs) and Corey Trivino (5-5) failed to win any of the key final faceoffs.
Nick O’Malley can be reached at email@example.com.