Hockey: Special teams a factor in UM Hockey East opener

By Melissa Turtinen, Collegian Staff

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DURHAM, N.H. – Two goals were scored, both on the same power play, in the Massachusetts hockey team’s 1-1 overtime tie against No. 4 New Hampshire.

The teams combined for 16 penalties, totaling 11 power plays, which led to special teams determining the result of the Friday nights’ game.

The Minutemen (2-1-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) scored their goal on their first power play of the game. The play came after New Hampshire’s Danny Dries was called for hitting UMass junior Will Ortiz from behind and was given a game misconduct on top his 5-minute major.

“That line was playing pretty well until Dries gets thrown out. You’ve got to change it up, you use three and a half lines and you use different people centering them,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “What was interesting is we did a lot of penalty killing in the second period, so you use that line with [Steve] Moses on that line as a fourth line so we kind of got through it.,”

Less than a minute after Dries was thrown out of the game, UNH’s Thomas Fortney was called for hooking, leading to a two-man advantage for UMass. Fewer than 20 seconds later, sophomore Chase Langeraap tallied his first goal of the season.

Langeraap’s goal was the second power-play goal allowed by UNH this season on 32 attempts through the end of Friday’s game.

But, on the same power play, James vanRiemsdyk scored for UNH to tie the game. From that point on, neither team was able to capitalize on special teams, although there wasn’t a lack of opportunity.

UMass took nine shots on its six power-play opportunities, while UNH took eight shots on its five power plays. UNH spent 29 minutes playing a man down, compared to UMass’ 14 minutes on the penalty kill.

“Special teams moved the puck and had chances, but didn’t really do us a lot,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said.

The Minutemen have killed off the last eight of their opponent’s power-play chances, but couldn’t seem to capitalize on the remainder of their man-up opportunities.

“[The amount of penalties UNH is getting is] not good. We’re not thrilled with it,” Umile said. “I know we got too many, especially in the second period.”

In the second period alone the Wildcats had four penalties, spending 8 minutes playing a man down, allowing the Minutemen to take six shots.

The Minutemen hope for more success with their special teams when they play Providence in their home opener on Halloween.

Melissa Turtinen can be reached at [email protected]