Hockey: Wellman leads Mass Attack to victory

By Melissa Turtinen, Collegian Staff

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Home ice makes the difference, especially when over 8,000 people are cheering for your team.

In the Massachusetts hockey team’s home-and-home series against Boston College this weekend, the home team came out victorious. On Friday the No. 16 Minutemen lost, 2-0, at Kelley Rink at Conte Forum, but 24 hours later the Minutemen defeated No. 4 Boston College, 4-3, in overtime at the Mullins Center, proving that anyone can win a Hockey East game.

“I think personally the crowd is like another player out there, they help us out so much, it’s so alive in [the Mullins Center] compared to all the other arenas in Hockey East,” said sophomore goaltender Paul Dainton.

After a crowd-pleasing first three periods Saturday, overtime proved to be no different. After a successful penalty kill and with 41 seconds remaining in overtime, freshman Casey Wellman was positioned to the right of the crease with a wide-open net, BC goaltender John Muse out of position and the puck just sitting there – a perfect combination for Wellman to put away the game-winning goal for the Minutemen.

“[Topher Bevis] looked at the net and saw [Alex] Berry and I going to the net, Berry got a great tip on it and it kind of snuck through just waiting there for me to put it in. It was exciting for me,” Wellman said.

After not scoring a single goal against the Eagles the night before, the Minutemen altered their lines and James Marcou scored 1 minute, 18 seconds into the game with a wraparound goal – kicking off a scoring spree for both teams.

“The last two games we didn’t even score a goal – home against Lowell and away against BC. That was a big thing we talked about [Saturday] morning getting more quality scoring chances and shots on net, getting traffic on occasion, I think we did that tonight and were able to come out with a win,” Berry said.

Going into the second period, the Minutemen were beating the defending national champions, 3-2. The crowd enjoyed the action as BC’s Nick Petrecki cross-checked Alex Berry to prompt a brawl at the 7:11 mark in the second period. Each player paired off with their opponent and four of the five men on the ice from each team were called for 10-minute misconducts – including UMass’ Justin Braun, Martin Nolet, Casey Wellman and Berry. UMass earned a power play after the scrum due to Petrecki’s cross-check.

“That’s hockey, that’s college hockey,” Berry said. “You can’t fight, but it’s just us coming together as a team, sticking up for one another. BC was pushing hard right there and we pushed back. I think once we got everything settled out in the third we were able to come together, just a team effort digging down deep to get two points tonight at home in front of 8,300.”

With just over 2 minutes remaining in the second period, BC’s Benn Ferriero scored the tying goal. Both teams took the ice for the third period tied, 3-3, to play a scoreless 20 minutes. UMass outshot BC 13-12 and pushed offensively for the majority of the period creating many scoring opportunities, but couldn’t beat Muse.

Dainton faced 42 shots from BC, including nine while the Eagles were on the man advantage. His successful play ultimately kept the Minutemen in the game.

“I thought Dainton was sharp, thought he was aggressive,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “He was square to the puck all night; it looked like he had a real good glove all night. He gave us that type of goaltending that you need to win a game like this.”

On Friday, the Minutemen weren’t as successful. UMass started out the game playing hard, making hard crisp passing, forechecking deep and moving the puck around successfully in the offensive zone. But, in the end Boston College took advantage of its power-play opportunities. On eight chances the Eagles took 20 shots and scored two goals – one in the second and another in the third period.

Game notes

A record-setting 8,389 fans attended the Mullins Center in UMass’ win Saturday