Led by seniors Kevin and Mark Joyce, the Massachusetts club hockey team took down Vermont in a 7-4 victory Saturday night on the road.
Kevin Joyce had two goals and an assist while Mark Joyce added a helper to guide the Minutemen (9-4-1) to their fourth consecutive win, beating the Catamounts (8-7-0) for the second time this season. Also scoring for UMass were seniors Dan Cusano and Greg Berube, junior Liam Gately, and freshmen Brian Collins and Patrick Demontigny.
The Minutemen broke a 2-2 tie with three consecutive goals by Collins, Berube and Demontigny in the second period to put away Vermont. The three-goal onslaught followed UMass surrendering a 2-0 advantage.
“I think our guys realized that they couldn’t be asleep at the switch, and that Vermont was a better team than we thought, so we had to get back to our game plan,” UMass coach Steve MacKay said of his team’s effort after giving up the 2-0 lead.
Kevin Joyce tallied his second goal of the game in the third period to extend the Minutemen’s lead to 6-2. But with seven minutes, 10 seconds left in the game, the Catamounts cut the lead to 6-4 with 4:45 remaining in the third period.
After calling a timeout, UMass was able to finish off Vermont when Gately scored his third goal of the season with 1:05 left to push its lead to 7-4.
The Minutemen first got on the scoreboard when Cusano tallied his fifth goal of the season on a slap shot from the point with 13 minutes left in the opening period. The lead was doubled after Kevin Joyce scored a power play goal on a rebound off a shot by freshman Ryan Daigle with 1:38 left in the period.
But the UMass lead quickly evaporated after two quick Catamount goals tied the game at two apiece.
During this win streak, MacKay said his team “concentrated on the fundamental systems that we teach, and they play to their full potential as a team, with not just one or two players making a difference.”
Freshman goaltender Luke Lepine got the win for the Minutemen, making 25 saves on 29 shots.
Through 14 games, the Joyces led the team win 14 points each, followed by Rojas with 12 points.
The Minutemen continue their road trip next Friday night at 8 p.m. when they face Merrimack College.
Minutemen defeat rival UMass Lowell
Three late goals in the third period gave UMass a 5-2 win over UMass Lowell on Friday night at home.
Demontigny scored the game-winner for the Minutemen with 3:23 left in the final period to give them a 3-2 lead. Two more goals from freshman Peter Kelly and senior Marc Marin ended all hopes of a River Hawk (6-7-0) comeback.
Sophomore Harris Stone gave UMass the lead 49 seconds into the game, scoring his first goal of the season assisted by Collins and Joyce. After UMass Lowell tied it up at 1-1 in the second period, the Minutemen regained the lead on a short-handed goal by senior Craig Charest with 8:20 left in the period.
Thomas Knox got the win in net for UMass after giving up only two goals.
Second semester tryouts set for January
On Jan. 18, the club hockey team will be holding open tryouts at 9 p.m. at the Mullins Center. Due to the loss of two players next semester, MacKay will be looking for a few guys that will be able to fill the empty vacancies left on the team.
“Basically, those kids that seem to fit the system and show a high caliber of play will be selected to come along for a few more practices and from there I will take three or four players,” MacKay said.
Jason Kates can be reached at email@example.com.