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December 11, 2017

Miguel Rojas’ hat trick powers men’s club hockey past Springfield

Freshman forward Miguel Rojas led the offensive attack for the Massachusetts men’s club hockey team in a 7-1 road victory over Springfield on Sunday.

A heavy dose of underclassmen scoring led the Minutemen (7-5-1) past the Pride (3-2-1) with freshmen Rojas, Ryan Daigle and Craig Wargo  all scoring goals in the victory. Also scoring for UMass were senior forwards Marc Marin and Dan Cusano, who netted a goal apiece.

The win was the second in a row for UMass, which defeated Central Connecticut, 2-0, on Nov. 9.

“These past two games have been some of our most solid of the season,” UMass coach Steve Mackay said. “We put in a very good week of practice and the results showed up on the ice.  We played for a full 60 minutes, as opposed to some 40 minute efforts that cost us games earlier in the season.”

While the offense may have stolen the show in Sunday’s victory, a strong defensive effort from the Minutemen helped contain the explosive Pride attack, which scored 13 goals in a game earlier in the season.

Mackay praised his team’s defensive effort in the win.

“Our defenders played very well, but I was very pleased with our defense and our physical presence as a team,” Mackay said. “We were able to keep a good team off of the board for almost all of the game.  Our defense created a few key turnovers that put us in a good position on the offensive end as well.”

Freshman goalkeeper Joe Iadarola made his first start of the season and recorded his first career victory. The freshman net-minder played strongly for all 60 minutes, only allowing one puck by him late in the contest.

“Joe played a great game,” Mackay said. “He stood on his head and showed poise the whole game. We called on him and he was ready.”

Following the victory, the team is off for almost two weeks before facing rival UMass Lowell at the Mullins Center on Nov. 30.  Mackay said the team will use the extra time to work out some kinks at practice and as an opportunity to heal injured players.

Mackay said he wants to make sure his team is 100 percent healthy heading into  important upcoming matchups.

“We play UMass Lowell and the University of Vermont on back to back nights and those are always close, hard fought, gritty and physical rivalry games,” he said. “We want to make sure we have all hands on deck for those nights.”

Cody Prudhomme can be reached at cprudhom@student.umass.edu.

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