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Minutemen open conference slate versus Terriers

The Massachusetts men’s hockey team will play its conference-opener on Saturday night and, if the playing conditions were tough in Minnesota, the atmosphere at Boston University should prove no different.

After losing both games at Minnesota last weekend to begin their season, the Minutemen will travel to No. 10 BU for their first in-state match-up.

UMass (0-2) faces a familiar foe in the Terriers (2-0). Just last year, the two teams faced off three times, with the home team taking each game. While the Minutemen edged the Terriers, 3-2, in their first meeting, BU took the next two games in Boston by a combined score of 13-5.

In the past five years, the Terriers have taken the season series by a count of 10-5-2. The Minutemen’s biggest win of the series came on Nov. 14, 2008 in Amherst when UMass dethroned BU as the No. 1 team in the country with a decisive 5-1 victory.

It was the Minutemen’s first win over a No. 1 ranked team since 1995. Goalkeeper and senior captain Paul Dainton made 30 saves that night as a sophomore, as then-freshman Matt Irwin scored his first collegiate goal.

However this year has its own storyline to tell in this long-time rivalry, a familial one.

Saturday’s game marks the first time that the Pereira brothers will face each other. Joe Pereira is a senior at BU and the Terriers captain and leads his team with three goals in the early season, all three coming in the past two games.

UMass freshman Michael Pereira got off to a hot start in his collegiate debut, scoring the first Minutemen goal of the year on Friday as well as racking up an assist against the Golden Gophers.

Each of the Terriers’ two wins this year has been decided by one goal. They beat Wisconsin on Friday, 4-3 and Notre Dame on Sunday, 5-4. BU’s first three games of year are played on their home ice. The same cannot be said for UMass which, for the first time ever in the program, plays its first three games on the road.

Dainton left the Minutemen’s last game against UM just 11 minutes and 47 seconds in, allowing one goal while making 10 saves in his short outing. Freshmen Jeff Teglia relieved Dainton for his first action as a Minuteman and surrendered four goals while making 18 saves.

Dainton has given up six goals in two games, while the Terriers goalkeepers, Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser have given up three and four goals, respectively.  Millan, a junior from Edmonton-Alberta, Canada. Millan holds a 3.00 goals against average this year with a .889 save percentage, while Dainton’s save percentage rests at .886 percent.

UMass coach Don Cahoon is coaching his 11th season as the Minutemen head coach while BU coach Jack Parker has been at the helm of the Terriers hockey program for 38 years. Parker has an overall record of 836-429-104.

The next game for the Minutemen following Saturday’s game will be their home opener on Oct. 22 against none other than BU. Both teams will face each other one more time during the regular season, Feb. 11 at the Mullins Center.

Pete Vasquez can be reached at pvasquez@student.umass.edu.

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