Dainton, Teglia create strong UMass dynamic between the posts

By Pete Vasquez

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Nearly a quarter through its season, the Massachusetts hockey team has unveiled two different goalkeepers, three years apart, who have both been equal contributors to the team.

Senior captain Paul Dainton and freshman Jeff Teglia have split time equally between the pipes. Together they bring a strong, healthy competition to the goalkeeping position that UMass coach Don Cahoon feels brings out the best in both players.

“I’ve got two guys that are playing well, so I want to utilize them both,” Cahoon said. “One has a ton of experience and the benefit of that experience, and the other one needs to gain experience. At some point, and we’re a ways from that, if one starts to outplay the other, he’ll get the majority of the time.”

So far this year, Dainton and Teglia have essentially matched each other’s statistical line. Dainton holds a 3.59 goals-against average while Teglia’s is just slightly better at 3.37. Each goalie’s save percentage flirts with the 90-percentile line. Teglia’s percentage sits at .899 while Dainton’s isn’t far behind at .895.

Dainton received UMass Athlete of the Week honors after his gritty performance last Saturday at New Hampshire earning the Minutemen a much-needed point with a 3-3 tie. Dainton made a career-high 43 saves, 18 of them coming in the third period. He is also two games away from playing his 100th career game.

“[Dainton] is the leader of this team and knows as an athlete at this level, his responsibility is to bring the best he has,” Cahoon said.

Both players have had their own games to showcase their abilities. Only two games have Dainton and Teglia been featured together, one coming Oct. 9th at Minnesota when Dainton had to leave because of injury, and the other coming against Army when Dainton was pulled after allowing four goals.

Cahoon sees his two-goalie attack as a positive for the team, instead of a crutch, noting that lots of teams have won national championships using two goalies.

Pereira, Rowe Provide Offense
With all that’s been said throughout this young season about the newly incorporated freshman making ill-timed mistakes within the course of the game, the top two goal scorers for the Minutemen are none other than two underclassmen.

Sophomore Darren Rowe and freshman Michael Pereira have five goals apiece.

Rowe provided the team with a constant threat during the season’s opening games. His five goals have all come within the first five games of the year. Pereira, on the other hand, has heated up of late, scoring in UMass’ last four games.

“Pereira has done real good job of consistently producing goals,” Cahoon said. “In the early games, Rowe was our go-to guy offensively. We need more people to contribute like they’ve contributed and hopefully they can sustain their level of play.”

Cahoon can’t stop talking about the individual skills and talent of his freshman class, despite the struggles that normally come with first-year players.

“The freshmen, quite frankly, are doing great things for our program,” Cahoon said. “By and large, they are part of the bright spot in this program’s future.”

First Period Struggles
The fact that opponents are outscoring the Minutemen 13-4 in the first period has not been concealed in recent games. The disparity is stretched to 6-1 in the past four games.

According to Cahoon, there are two reasons for this. One is a tendency of starting games with a lot of energy, but not a lot of intelligence.

“Guys are really excited and they’re over-exuberant,” Cahoon said. “[They’re] trying real hard but not following through with assignments. We come out ready to play and we lose our sense of purpose by just playing with enthusiasm.”

The competitiveness factor is always present in his players, and it gives Cahoon all the reason to try and get his players to better harness their nerves by executing such fundamentals as marking up.

Reason number two is the clear propensity of opponents’ goals coming during the power play. Out of the 33 total goals UMass has allowed this season, 13 have come via the power play, about 40 percent of the total goals surrendered.

“We’ve given up so many special teams goals and that’s been our big Achilles’ Heel,” Cahoon said. “The special teams side of our game is really skewed. The opposition’s had their way. We haven’t been a very good power play unit or penalty kill unit. That’s a recipe for disaster. So we need to get that remedied.”

Pete Vasquez can be reached at [email protected]