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Minutemen get huge win on the road against Bulldogs

Michael Marcou scored the first goal of the night, while his brother James scored the game winner in overtime, as the No. 11 Massachusetts hockey team defeated No. 9 Yale, 4-3, Thursday night.

T.J. Syner and Casey Wellman also had goals, while goalkeeper Dan Meyers had a strong showing in goal, recording 28 saves on the night, getting a spot start in place of Paul Dainton.

Although not a Hockey East game, the win against Yale puts another major win on UMass’ resume after defeating then-No. 2 Boston University, and will likely move them even further up in the national rankings.

After a strong second period, the Minutemen (8-2, 5-2 Hockey East) held a 2-1 lead on the Bulldogs (2-2-2, 1-1-2 ECAC), but with two unanswered goals early in the third, Yale stormed back ahead.

With 13 minutes, 22 seconds left in the third, the Bulldogs scored their first power-play goal of the night after several missed chances, including multiple shots hitting the post. Sean Backman fired a shot that was blocked by Meyers, but grabbed his own rebound with a scrum in front of the net and flipped it past Meyers for the tying goal.

Just over a minute later, the Bulldogs would score again on a one timer from Andrew Miller to Broc Little to put Yale up 3-2.

The Minutemen continued the third period flurry of goals by taking back the lead two minutes later. In transition, David Boehm fed it to Syner, who fired a shot past goalkeeper Nick Maricic for the tying goal.

The Bulldogs kept the pressure on late in the third, but failed to score the decisive goal, sending the game into overtime. At that point, it was back-and-forth play, until James Marcou put the puck on net and had his deflection go off of Yale’s Jimmy Martin and into the net to give UMass the key win.

It took until 6:25 into the first period for Yale to get its first shot on goal for the night. The Bulldogs made it count, though, as Miller scooped up a loose puck off of a faceoff off and fed it to Denny Kearney who snapped it past Myers for the goal.

There was no shortage of opportunities for the Minutemen, who had two power-play opportunities and outshot the Bulldogs 10-7 in the period. UMass’ offense, though, failed to produce any prime scoring opportunities outside of a short-handed breakaway by Syner that resulted in his shot ringing off the post.

Yale took the 1-0 lead into the second period and held onto it until Michael Marcou scored his third goal of the season. In transition, Brett Watson took the puck into the offensive zone and found the defenseman Marcou, who came up in support, on the far faceoff circle as the sophomore’s shot slipped past Maricic (32 saves).

A little over a minute later, Yale’s Mark Arcobello was called for a slash, followed by a hooking call on Little, giving UMass a 5-on-3 opportunity, a dangerous situation for the Bulldogs against one of the top power-play units in the country.

It took little time for the Minutemen to take advantage of the two-man advantage. Showing good puck movement in front of the net, Justin Braun took the centering pass in the slot and fed it to a waiting Wellman on the left side. The sophomore fired it high past Maricic to give UMass the 2-1 lead. The goal gave Wellman his sixth goal of the season and his fourth on the power play.

The Minutemen went 1-for-6 on the power play on the night while the Bulldogs went 1-for-7. The three goals at even strength were a major factor in the win. Although UMass has had major success on the power play, the Minutemen have sometimes struggled to score without it.

Yale looked as though it would get a chance to score later in the period when the Bulldogs were attacking on the power play after a holding call on Rocco Carzo and then another power play on a James Marcou slashing call. Despite several scoring chances by Yale, the UMass defense, along with Meyers in a spot start, looked strong in his second start in place of Paul Dainton in goal.

Nick O’Malley can be reached at nomalley@student.umass.edu.

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