Minutemen slated for rematch with RPI over the weekend

By Robert Hanlon

This past weekend, the Massachusetts men’s club ice hockey team broke even with a 6-3 win over Westfield State on Friday and a 4-0 loss to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Saturday.

The Owls brought a strong squad to Amherst to face the Minutemen at the Mullins Center practice rink, but their strengths were not enough to hang in the game with UMass, who blew the game open thanks in part to, junior forward Michael Bartlett, who tallied his second career hat trick.

Junior defenseman Bill Foard also had an impressive goal for the Minutemen. After blocking a shot, the defensemen sprinted toward the puck and scored on a breakaway.

“Westfield was a good team,” UMass coach Mike Atkinson said, “but we just did what we talked about in practice and really competed out there on the ice. Bartlett’s hat-trick and Foard’s strong play were the key factors that really helped us win the game.”

The Minutemen carried over their strong play to the Houston Field House, in Troy, N.Y. to face RPI and did a fine job of putting shots on Engineer goalie Billy Stuart. UMass outshot RPI, but were held scoreless.

“We get to face this same RPI team coming up this Friday,” Atkinson said, “so hopefully when we play them again some of our shots will get into the net.”

The Owls travel to Amherst with a match-up with the Minutemen Friday evening.

During the past week, Atkinson said the Minutemen continued to work on three main weaknesses, trying to get the puck deep, blocking shots, and limiting turnovers throughout the game.

Continuing to work on those same main points this week, UMass looks to be able to rebound from their scoring drought against RPI.

After the weekend split of the two games against Westfield and RPI, ,the overall record for the Minutemen now stands at 2-2-0 overall and 0-2-0 within the Patriot West division of the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association.

With the victory over UMass, RPI has improved to a perfect record in the American Collegiate Hockey Association with their third win.

The Engineers have a 3-2 win over Merrimack and a 6-4 win over Quinnipiac so far this year, with the rematch with UMass coming on the road for the first time this season.

Through four games, there have been some bright spots for the Minutemen. Senior forward Nick Crowley has continued to provide veteran leadership, showing his skills primarily on the penalty kill unit with junior Adam Spunt.  

Along with Crowley, senior captains Christian McCracken, Matt Coughlin and Danny Arnao look to lead UMass back to the NECHA West Championships, which they won last season. Jake Krilovich has contributed on both ends of the ice, playing both forward and defense.

The next match-up against Westfield be on Saturday Oct. 23 for the Minutemen and will take place at the Amelia Park Ice Arena.

Robert Hanlon can be reached at [email protected]