Minutemen split weekend with home-opening win, loss at Providence
Despite a late goal to pull within one, the Massachusetts hockey team fell short against Providence, losing, 6-4, Saturday in Rhode Island.
UMass (1-1-1, 0-1-1 Hockey East) made it a one-goal game with four minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the third period. Sophomore forward Conor Sheary wristed home a shot which banged off the inside post, making the score 5-4 in favor of the Friars (2-0-0, 2-0-0 HEA).
After pulling sophomore goaltender Jeff Teglia for an extra man with 1:29 remaining in the contest, the Minutemen were unable to retain puck procession and surrendered an empty net goal to give Providence a 6-4 lead and the game.
“He struggled with the constant preparation,” said UMass coach Don Cahoon of freshman Kevin Boyle, who, after surrendering five goals in two periods, was relieved in favor of Teglia near the end of the second.
“Tonight, he struggled, and that’s part of being able to come back and prepare yourself on a regular basis … He’s a very good player, but preparing yourself every night is a lot to ask for from a freshman,” added Cahoon.
Tegila managed to keep the Minutemen in the game, allowing no goals off eight shots in 23 minutes in net.
The Friars took an early 1-0 lead just 2:01 into the game when Derek Army scored on a three-on-two rush. Providence increased its lead to 2-0 when Myles Harvey scored on a power play with 55 seconds left before the first intermission.
After each team exchanged goals, sophomore defenseman Adam Phillips brought the Minutemen within one in the second period when he scored off a rebound with six minutes left.
Trailing 4-2, senior forward Danny Hobbs sent home one of his two goals in the game to pull UMass within one at the 1:15 second mark in the third period. Just over a minute later, Billy Simon gave the Friars a 5-3 cushion when he scored a short-handed goal.
Michael Pereira, Colin Shea, Steven Guzzo, T.J. Syner, Michael Marcou and Joel Hanley all recorded assists for the Minutemen. UMass converted two-of-their-nine power play attempts for the game.
“We stayed with it, but we didn’t play as smart was we needed it,” said Cahoon. “You shoot yourself in the foot when you make penalties. Although we talked about making adjustments, it didn’t make it to the ice … so, that’s part of the evolution of a good team I hope.”
UMass owns Bentley
In front of a student-packed crowd of 4,394 Friday evening, the Minutemen grabbed their first win of the season, 5-3, in its home opener at the Mullins Center.
Last year, it took 10 games for UMass to claim its first victory. It only took them two games in the 2011-12 campaign.
“It was great to get the win,” said senior forward Danny Hobbs, who notched his first goal of the season. “We had all those one-goal games [last year], and we weren’t able to finish. It’s a great start to get the win here.”
Pereira recorded a hat trick in the game, also dishing a pass to Hobbs for an assist. The last time a Minuteman scored three goals in a game was Casey Wellman in 2009 against Vermont.
“I feel like my strength with the puck has improved this year,” said Pereira. “From start to finish, we took it to them.”
Bentley (0-3-0) took the early lead in the opening period when Aaron Stonacek nailed home an unassisted goal. Stonacek swooped in front of the net and squeezed a shot past starter Boyle that just trickled through his legs. The early strike marks the first goal for Stonacek this season.
Minutes later, Hobbs tied the game at one apiece. Creeping down low in the offensive zone, Hobbs received a pass from Pereira, who was behind the net. Hobbs’ wrist shot beat sophomore goaltender Branden Komm’s glove, tying the game, 1-1.
“[The down low offensive play] was better [tonight] than last week,” said Cahoon. “We did get some nice plays down low…I was pretty pleased at how the team played off of that.”
The Falcons took a lead just before the first period closed after senior Alex Grieve delivered home a goal for his second of the season.
After defenseman Matt Maher stepped up into the left faceoff circle and fired a shot, Boyle allowed the puck to deflect off the body, and Grieve proceeded to bring the loose puck down and nailed home a shot to give Bentley a 2-1 advantage.
In the second period, the Minutemen found the equalizer.
Hobbs’ pass found Pereira’s stick on the rush, which he rifled home to tie the game at two apiece.
In the third period, two quick goals by the Minutemen gave them a 4-2 lead.
After two penalties by UMass, one including a five-minute major for misconduct by Adam Phillips, Boyle locked down the net, surrendering only one goal on 11 shots.
“I felt he was the strongest in practice this week,” said Cahoon about what went into the decision to start Boyle in the midst of a competition for the starting job in net. “I don’t know if he was as sharp as he was last week, but he hung in there and made some good saves.”
The Minutemen will play Friday at Boston College as they continue their Hockey East schedule.
Scott Cournoyer can be reached at email@example.com.