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May 4, 2017

Minutewomen fall to Holy Cross 8-0 to start season

Despite strong goaltending and talent on defense, the Massachusetts women’s club hockey team fell to Holy Cross in Worcester during Saturday’s game.  

The game serves as the first-ever meeting between the Minutewomen and the Crusaders. The wide margin of the 8-0 score may suggest difficulties on defense and a struggling offense, but UMass coach Chris Cobb did not see it that way.

“We played great defense and made little mistakes that led to goals” Cobb said.

Freshman Kelsey Magrane started off in net for the first half. The Minutewomen held its ground throughout the first period along with the majority of the second period, where the score remained tied at zero. With 10 minutes left in the second period, the Crusaders struck first and took a 1-0 lead. This one goal led quickly to three more before Cobb called a timeout to regroup his team and try to stop the downward spiral.

“They were fast and controlled the puck” Cobb said.

Despite the four goals in the first half, Magrane saved an impressive 36 shots to keep the score relatively close. Compared to the closely played first half, the final two periods appeared much different to Cobb.

Fellow freshman Katie Avery took over the net in the second half. The score did not have any impact on the switch; Cobb planned to play different goalies in the first and second half to give the two young players experience on the ice. Four additional goals were scored against Avery to give Holy Cross the victory.

UMass played all four of its lines, something Cobb had hoped to do to see which aspects of his team came together on the ice.

The majority of the game was played by the defensive end of the Minutewomen, with the offense remaining quiet during both halves.

The defensive star of the day was senior Angela Rufo, who led and motivated the defense each time she stepped onto the ice. At the end of the day, Rufo was the only player without a minus on her statistics.

“She played a great game” Cobb said of Rufo.

In regards to offense, Cobb feels they still played well and consistent, regardless of not scoring a goal.

“They simply did not have a lot of scoring opportunities” Cobb said.

This is something the Minutewomen will continue to work on in practice, along with scenarios to help win loose pucks.

“We are better now than last week because of that game” Cobb said.

This loss will not affect Massachusetts’ standings, making it the perfect season opener to gain experience and recognize weaknesses that need to be addressed. The Minutewomen compete in the Eastern Women’s Collegiate Hockey League, as they are a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The Crusaders on the other hand is a NCAA Division III school that is a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Standings and statistics that affect the season’s outcome will not be recorded until UMass faces off against Penn State.

UMass remains positive and looks forward to the upcoming weekend of play versus the Nittany Lions. Massachusetts will face Penn State twice, starting off on Friday, Oct. 30 at 10 p.m. in the Mullins practice arena. The two teams will play again in the main rink on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Geena Lombardi can be reached at glombard@student.umass.edu.

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