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UMass club hockey falls to Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday

(Collegian file photo)

It’s unheard of to play three straight games in hockey, but the Massachusetts Club Hockey team did just that this past weekend, winning its first two games before falling 4-3 to Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday.

Despite having a 3-1 lead almost halfway through the second period, the Minutemen couldn’t hold on and gave up three goals in the final 30 minutes of action, two of which came in the final two minutes.

The Eagles began their comeback with a goal off a three-on-one rush that ended in a backhander skipping past UMass goaltender Ryan Lacriox at the 11-minute mark of the second period.

The third period was full of penalties until the Eagles tied the game with 1:36 to play. A shot from the point went right past a screened Lacriox.

The dagger came with 23 seconds remaining in the game, as FGCU scored the game winner with a shot from right in front of the net that hopped over the right shoulder of Lacriox.

“We kind of sat back a little too much,” said Minuteman assistant coach Casey Litwack. “We were just relying on keeping the lead when we should have been attacking a little bit more.”

“We played a great game,” Litwack continued. “I think the only thing is we need to finish out a full 60. You can’t ask for much more.”

A bright spot for UMass was freshman Scott Shorrock’s hat trick, as he had all three goals for the Minutemen.

Shorrock’s first goal tied the game at one after the Eagles opened the scoring six minutes into the game. Shorrock’s goal occurred because of a tremendous behind-the-back pass from Jude Bonavita, giving him a wide open net to deposit his first goal of the afternoon.

Four minutes later, Shorrock brought the Minutemen ahead with a power play goal off a one-timer in the slot.

The power play success for UMass would continue, as defenseman Johnny Tomlinson ripped a shot from the point that Shorrock got a stick on to deflect it past the FGCU goalie.

Despite all his success, Shorrock was still focused on the final result.

“Next time, we just have to play better in our defensive zone,” said Shorrock. “We have to play the whole 60 minutes. That’s pretty much it.”

UMass handles Northeastern and Keene State with ease

On Saturday, the Minutemen faced off against Northeastern, where they had a convincing 5-2 victory.

It began when Eric Seigel opened the scoring with a rocket from the slot. With 1:09 left in the first, UMass added another goal by Cam Fisher off a pass from Arthur Potter to make it 2-0.

The second period didn’t have any scoring until Shorrock ripped a one-timer to make it 3-0 with 1:10 left in the second period.

The Huskies scored to open the third, but the Minutemen would respond with another goal from Shorrock as he made a great move around a Northeastern defender to extend the lead to three. Fisher added another goal to make it 5-1 with 13 minutes remaining in the game.

The Huskies would tack on another goal to cut the lead to 5-2, but it was far from enough.

On Friday night, UMass defeated Keene State 5-1.

The Owls got on the scoreboard first off of a power-play goal. That would be the last goal they would score, as it was all Minutemen from that point on.

UMass avoided going to the first period dressing room down a goal when freshmen Matthew Poulin scored with 1:25 left in the first to tie it up at one.

“The penalties and the chirping were kind of getting away from [playing],” UMass coach Mike Defazio said. “I think they got caught up in it and it took them out of their game. We just let it go and took the chances they gave us and if they were going to take penalties, we were going to take the power plays.”

In the second period, the Minutemen turned their play up a notch, grabbing two goals in the period to extend their lead to 3-1.

UMass rode the momentum for the rest of the game, adding two goals in the third period.

“We were pretty good at getting pucks and bodies to the net,” said senior Tony Lespasio, who had two goals in the game. “The defense helped out a lot—it started in the defensive zone. Getting the breakout, sending one guy wide, and they just found me going to the net.”

Even though the Owls lost by four goals, the Minutemen didn’t discredit their opponent’s effort.

“I don’t think [Keene State] played a bad game,” said Defazio. “They played well. I think our guys just played that much better. We played a pretty flawless game, so it was good to see.”

This weekend provided UMass with confidence during the early portion of the season.

“These are three of the best teams we’re going to play all year,” said Litwack. “We’re pretty happy with where we’re at right now. We played great. We had two big wins against Keene and Northeastern so I think we just need to keep that rolling and we should be successful going forward.”

Evan Marinofsky can be reached at emarinofsky@umass.edu or on Twitter @emarinofsky.

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