Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

Ortiz lifts UMass over Merrimack with two-goal performance

HockAIn an attempt to break its three-game losing streak and get back on track, the Massachusetts hockey team was successful in defeating Merrimack, 4-1, Saturday night at the Mullins Center.

“It was a pretty solid effort coming off a bit of a struggle in the last couple weeks,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said.

Not having played for a week, the No. 15 Minutemen (10-5-0, 6-4-0 Hockey East) came out with fresh legs in the first period and wasted no time in attacking the Warriors (7-8-0, 4-6-0 HEA). In the first frame, UMass peppered Merrimack goalkeeper Andrew Braithwaite for 18 shots.

Will Ortiz delivered the first score of the contest, 11 minutes, nine seconds into the period, rebounding a deflected Chase Langeraap shot. Daren Rowe, who was also credited with an assist on the play, earned his first collegiate point.

The power play, which has been a weapon for the Minutemen this season, had been recently slowed down by opponents after their hot start at the beginning of the year. Against the Warriors, UMass looked to establish physical play early and received three man-advantage opportunities in the game.

Wellman took advantage of a Merrimack penalty 3:15 into the second period, scoring his team-leading 13th goal of the season to give the Minutemen a 2-0 lead. The goal moves the sophomore into a tie with New Hampshire’s Bobby Butler atop the Hockey East leaders in scoring.

Merrimack responded with a minute left before the end of the period, closing the gap to one score with Stephane Da Costa’s ninth goal of the season.

UMass continued to keep the pressure on the Warriors in the third period, scoring two more goals to put the game out of hand.

Ortiz scored his second goal nine minutes into the final frame after intercepting a pass and beating Braithwaite to put the Minutemen ahead, 3-1. The goal marked the senior’s seventh of the season, placing him second on the team behind Wellman.

“He plays with a lot of energy and I think he’s shooting the puck a little better than he has in the past,” Cahoon said of Ortiz. “He has a real good shot release, there’s a lot of pace on his shot, and now he’s found the net.”

Two minutes later, T.J. Syner added another score with his third goal of the year while on the penalty kill. The score was the first short-handed goal of the season for UMass.

For the contest, goalkeeper Paul Dainton made 33 saves while allowing a long score in the win.

After having struggles in one of the three periods of each of the past few losses, the Minutemen played a consistent 60 minutes of hockey and weren’t overmatched in any one particular frame.

“We were looking for three solid periods, that was an important agenda item for us to get the effort for three consecutive periods and not have much of a let-up,” Cahoon said.

The victory for UMass moves it four points ahead of Merrimack in the Hockey East and six points behind conference-leader UNH.

Cahoon is content with where his team stands after a semester, but knows they have to keep playing well and advancing in the standings.

“It’s a platform to work from, nothing more, nothing less,” he said. “Everybody’s anxious to see where we go and we’ll just take it one day at a time and hopefully we can play well enough to surprise some people along the way.”

After taking two weeks off for the holidays, the Minutemen will be back in action on Dec. 29 when they face Union in the UConn Tournament.

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

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