Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass hockey bounces back against Maine, reclaims 8th in Hockey East

Tied 2-2 heading into the third period, the Massachusetts hockey team faced arguably its most important period of hockey this season.

The Minutemen (11-17-2, 8-14-1 Hockey East Association) responded, scoring three goals in the final 20 minutes to down Maine 5-2 Saturday night at the Mullins Center.

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

The win puts the Minutemen back in front of the Black Bears (9-17-6, 5-12-6 HEA) by one point for eighth place in the Hockey East standings.

“I’m happy for the guys,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “We kind of found our way again. They’re fun to watch, fun to be around and I was obviously just excited for them to see them get back to doing what they like to do, are good at doing and makes us successful.”

Not even three minutes into the period, UMass pulled ahead after Zack LaRue took advantage of a loose puck in the crease, poking it by goaltender Martin Ouellette to put the Minutemen back on top 3-2. Then, with just over six minutes to go, junior defenseman Joel Hanley faked a shot from the point and moved to the top of the circles and fed Conor Sheary a cross-ice pass that Sheary one-timed to give UMass a 4-2 lead.

Kevin Czepiel sealed the deal by adding an empty-net goal to earn the Minutemen the 5-2 victory, moving them back ahead of the Black Bears. Czepiel the team had learned its lesson and knew what it was up against after falling out of playoff position with a 2-0 loss on Friday.

“(It) was definitely a wake up call,”Czepiel said. “We knew the situation, so there was no hiding from that. It was definitely one that we had to get this game. It was a must-win and we had to turn around what we were doing. We weren’t playing the way we were supposed to play, so it was kind of just getting back to that and taking accountability for it.”

The Minutemen were stonewalled by Ouellette’s dominant, 30-save shutout performance Friday night.

It didn’t take UMass long to solve Ouellette on Saturday, however. Adam Phillips got the scoring started for the Minutemen 5:51 into the game after he banged home the rebound off a shot from  Rocco Carzo to put the Minutemen on top 1-0. Not even two minutes later, Branden Gracel ripped a slap shot over Ouellette’s shoulder, putting the Minutemen ahead 2-0 heading into the first intermission.

The quick start for UMass was something that Micheletto preached to his team before the game.

“We talked about the very basic things that make us good,” Micheletto said. “There’s foundation pieces to what we do and who we are. It’s about competition. It’s about intensity and tenacity and pace and those were the only things that they were being held accountable to at this point and that’s all we wanted to do was get back to those foundation pieces.”

But in the second period, UMass came out flat-footed, surrendering two goals   in a span of 1 minute, 40 seconds. Jake Rutt got Maine on the board on the power play when he beat Mastalerz blocker side. Bill Norman then answered Rutt’s goal by beating Mastalerz glove side to tie the game at 2-2 going into the second intermission.

It was then that the Minutemen got it together and figuratively saved its season.

We had to stick together, and I felt like we did a good job in between periods,”Hanley said.“We had to win it, and I thought we did a good job just not getting too high or too low, just staying with our game plan and it ended up working out for us.”

Both teams have only four games remaining in their seasons, but all four of UMass’games come against ranked opponents, starting with a weekend series on the road against No. 5 New Hampshire.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at pstrohec@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter at @MDC_Strohecker.

 

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