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March 22, 2017

UMass splits a pair of overtime games

In the two back-to-back overtime games that the Massachusetts men’s club hockey team competed in this weekend, one resulted in a win and the other in a loss.

Maine handed the Minutemen (13-3-0) a 4-3 loss at the Mullins Center, marking the second loss on home ice for UMass. The Black Bears (7-6-0) maintained the Minutemen offense which has been active this season.  

“We learned from it, and we’re going to move on from there,” UMass coach Robert Talloni said.

Maine dominated the first period of play, scoring two goals within the first nine minutes. UMass came right back, however, with two goals scored by assistant captain Julian Maleski and defender Craig Charest. The third period brought more scores, as Maine netted one right after the break.

As assistant captain Reed Powers skated up towards the goal, he noticed teammate Christian McCracken up ahead. With a swift pass, Powers gained an assist as McCracken netted the tying goal for UMass, sending the game into overtime.

“He was able to rifle a shot that got right past the goalie,” Talloni said. “He’s got a flat shot that hits 110 miles per hour.”

In the overtime period of play, Maine successfully scored the last goal to win the contest.

“They had fast-skating players, maybe a little bit shorter, not a whole lot of weight, but they’re fast and their work ethic was very good,” Talloni said.

Captain Alec Goolsby, who leads the Minutemen in goals scored, did not find the back of net in the game. The same could be said for senior Reed Powers who also failed to provide any goals, despite being the second-leading goal scorer on the team.

“There are no excuses, they beat us fair and square,” Talloni said. “We wish it would have went the other way, but they got to that loose puck a little quicker than we could.”

The night prior, UMass earned a successful victory in an extra period of play in its 5-4 win over Bryant.

Minutemen forward Chris Stella put UMass on the board with a goal nine minutes into the game. After the Bulldogs (4-6-0) scored a goal of their own, Stella netted another score to retain the Minutemen lead.

Bryant then went on a tear, scoring two goals before halftime. Forty seconds after the halftime break, Maleski was able to score a goal to tie up the game.

“We’re very proud of the way he plays, his skill level, his rank as captain and the way he handles the team,” Talloni said. “He’s a great person.”

Five minutes passed before Bryant scored another goal to regain the lead, which was once again lost after forward Nicholas Crowley assisted Cusano with the much-needed goal. With neither team attaining a lead, the game was sent to overtime.

“They [Crowley, Cusano] saved the game for us, they got us into overtime,” Talloni said. “When you go into overtime, anything can happen. We knew if we could get into overtime we could win.”

With less than a minute left in the extra period, Cusano passed the puck to Matthew Coughlin who scored the game-winning goal for UMass.

“It looked like a bullet,” Talloni said.

The Minutemen will take a two week break from play, before setting up the Mullins Center for Military Appreciation night on Dec. 4. UMass will compete against the United States Coast Guard before returning to regular season play the following night, where it will take on Connecticut for the first time this year.

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

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