Minutemen earn two road victories over weekend

By Robert Hanlon

This weekend the Massachusetts men’s club hockey team won two road games against Sacred Heart and Westfield State winning 6-3 and 6-1 on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Netminder Daniel O’Quinn put up a strong performance for his Minutemen in both games, holding the Pioneers to three goals on 31 shots on goal and the Owls to only one goal.

The stars of the game on offense against Sacred Heart included Craig Charest and Danny Arnao who each racked up three points with a power-play goal and two assists each for UMass.

“The whole team played well against Sacred Heart on Friday night,” Atkinson said. “We had some big goals when we needed them and we got big saves as well.”

Atkinson said that the key goal in the game came from freshmen Kevin Waller, his first goal of his career for the Minutemen, which capped off the night.

UMass came out with another strong performance on Saturday against the Westfield, showing another strong performance offensively and defensively.

“O’Quinn played very well and made some huge saves,” Atkinson said. “Scott Cook had a couple of real nice goals and got some others from our defense.”

Cook’s two goals included one on the power-play unit, while the other four goals were scattered amongst four different players including Dan Cusano and captain Matt Coughlin who each scored their third goals of the season.

Cook is the leader in goals thus far in the season with five, four of which came on the power-play.

Michael Bartlett leads the team with nine points on the season with three goals and six assists. Bartlett is half way to the 18 points he scored last season and is on pace for about 33 points this season which will not surpass his career-high 38 points in the 2008-2009 season.

Through the first seven games of the season, the strongest goaltender appears to be O’Quinn, who now has two wins to his name and a goals-against average of 1.47 that has come from only 163 minutes of ice time in three games.

Even after the strong play this weekend Atkinson is not letting up on his team but only refocusing the Minutemen’s efforts to continue to point them in the direction of the championship this season.

“Next weekend it starts all over again and it starts at practice on Tuesday,” Atkinson said. “We need to do things faster and make sure we are creating scoring chances while denying defensive breakdowns.”

The Minutemen will play on the road this Friday against Bryant..

The Bulldogs have won four of their first five games of the season and are and have split their first two games at the Smithfiled Ice Rink. UMass will look to find a way to stop their top offensive threat John May, who has scored four goals this season, three coming on the power-play.

Robert Hanlon can be reached at [email protected]