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Paul Dainton critical in growth of Jeff Teglia

Senior captain Paul Dainton stood on the bench during the Massachusetts hockey team’s home opener against Boston University, making way for freshman Jeff Teglia to start his second-straight game in net.

Despite allowing four goals in a loss on Friday, Teglia was pleased with his two performances against the Terriers, glad to be given the chance to start this early in the season.

“It was a great experience playing at BU and with an unbelievable home crowd here tonight,” Teglia said. “I was pretty happy with my play both nights. I thought I gave my team a chance to win.”

UMass (0-3-1, 0-1-1 Hockey East) carried a lead into the second period before losing, 4-3, when three unanswered goals put the Terriers up for good.

Trailing 1-0 in the second period, BU forward Charlie Coyle found the net four minutes, eight seconds into the period with a man up. Seven minutes later, forward Andrew Glass rifled a shot into the top of the net from in front of the goal. Forward and captain Joe Pereira finished the scoring flurry with a breakaway goal at 18:27.

Despite the scoring blemishes in the second stanza, Minutemen coach Don Cahoon believes that Teglia played well enough to give his team a chance at a victory.

“We had the goaltending to win that game,” Cahoon said. “He gave us good enough play in the goal. The two goals we gave up were goals that could have been prevented through execution.”

Teglia turned away 33 shots in the game, including six on the power play. In three games this season, he has given up 10 goals (3.54 goals-against average) and made 84 saves (.894 save percentage).

Teglia entered this season as a touted goaltender, ranked 28th in North America for the 2009 NHL Draft by Central Scouting Service. However, with Dainton as the incumbent starter and captain, his playing time this early in the season is unexpected.

Dainton was sidelined after suffering an undisclosed injury in the second game of the season at Minnesota on Oct. 9. He is close to full strength, he and Cahoon have said, but did not start because of his limited play leading up to Friday’s game.

“Paul was close, but we didn’t give him a lot of practice time as we wanted,” Cahoon said. “It just seemed prudent with one game to play this weekend, knowing that he’s probably 100 percent by tomorrow or Monday, why throw him into the mix and then all of the sudden he gets involved in a collision and next thing you know he’s down for a couple more days.”

Teglia appeared in relief of Dainton against the Gophers, making 18 saves while allowing four goals in over 45 minutes in the crease. His first start came in a 2-2 tie at BU on Oct. 16, where he shut out the Terriers for the final two periods and overtime (33 saves).

Teglia credits Dainton’s continued leadership on the bench and in practice as a factor to his early success.

“He’s an unbelievable mentor. I’ve learned a lot from him, just being on the side when we have time. He’s a great guy and a great leader.”

Dainton could play this Friday against Providence, depending on whether Cahoon feels he is ready. He should begin to practice this week at full speed. However, Dainton is not concerned about ceding his spot in goal for the time being.

“He was the top goalie in his league and that’s why we brought him in here,” Dainton said of Teglia in an interview early last week. “From a personal standpoint, I’m going to do everything I can to get into the lineup this year, but if Tegs is stopping the puck, he’s stopping the puck.”

Dan Gigliotti can be reached at dgigliot@student.umass.edu.

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