Minutemen draw with Maine, shut down by River Hawks

By Scott Cournoyer

For the Massachusetts hockey team, Friday and Saturday’s performances produced a mixed batch of results.

Unfortunately, Saturday’s 4-0 loss to UMass Lowell has left the Minutemen asking more questions of where the road will travel going forward.

“We didn’t make a very good account of ourselves,” said UMass coach Don Cahoon to UMassAtheltics.com following Saturday’s loss. “[It] was the lowest moment of the season for us.”

Saturday’s loss snaps the Minutemen’s five-game winning streak over the River Hawks (6-4-0, 4-3-0 Hockey East). It also marks the first time since 2008 that UMass Lowell has shut out UMass (4-5-3, 2-5-3 HEA) – with the last occurrence back on Nov. 15, 2008 in a 2-0 River Hawk victory.

Freshman Steve Mastalerz started his third career game in net Saturday, stopping 30 shots for the Minutemen, including 12 in the first period.

After a scoreless opening frame, David Vallorani gave UMass Lowell the game’s first lead. On a power play, Riley Wetmore fed Vallorani, who netted his second of the season to give the River Hawks a 1-0 lead with 9:16 remaining in the period.

Just under three minutes later, UMass Lowell extended its lead when Tim Corcoran rifled home his first career goal. Corcoran, from the top of the right point, fired a shot at the net that scampered through a screen and into the back of the goal to give the River Hawks a 2-0 advantage.

With just under five minutes remaining in the third period, the scoring for UMass Lowell continued. Chad Ruhwedel netted an unassisted goal on a rush, wristing home his second of the season to increase the River Hawk’s lead to 3-0. Wetmore sealed the deal with one more UMass Lowell goal with 2:29 left, scoring his seventh goal of the year from the low slot, sealing the River Hawk’s sixth win of the year and fourth in conference play.

“We didn’t win too many battles,” said Cahoon. “We didn’t play as hard as we needed to play … the better team tonight certainly won the game.”

Draw with Black Bears

In a very chippy and physical contest Friday night, UMass used two late-game goals against Maine to secure a 2-2 draw in front of student-packed crowd of 4,621 at the Mullins Center.

The Minutemen are now 3-3-1 against the Black Bears in their last seven matchups dating back to 2009-10.

Friday’s contest produced 18 combined penalties, amounting to 58-total minutes that players spent in the box. Among the penalties included two game misconducts by UMass’ Eric Filiou and Maine’s Joey Devine, with Devine’s scuffle coming in the overtime period.

“[Maine] came in with an attitude not to be denied,” said Cahoon, regarding the physical play Friday. “That makes for a very physical confrontation.”

The Black Bears took an early 1-0 lead in the opening period when Mark Anthoine rifled a one-timer past the Minutemen’s Jeff Teglia for the score. Brian Flynn increased Maine’s lead to 2-0 seven minutes later with his team-leading fifth goal of the year.

Just over 11 minutes into the second frame, Michael Pereira cut the deficit to 2-1. Off a centering pass from Conor Sheary, Pereira received and rifled home his eighth goal of the season. In the third period, UMass netted the equalizer when Steven Guzzo slammed in a tough goal at the 14:51 mark to tie the game at 2-2.

Although the Minutemen had their chances deep into the third period and in overtime, the opportunities deemed ultimately unsuccessful, as UMass went 0-for-7 on power play conversions for the game.

Teglia finished the game with 29 saves, including 12 in the third period.

UMass gears up for UVM

The Minutemen will continue their three-game road trip when they head north Tuesday to take on Vermont for the first of three regular season games.

UMass has had recent success against the Catamounts, winning two-of-three contests last season and posting a 4-4-1 record against them dating back to 2008.

Statistically, T.J. Syner is putting up a senior season for all of the HEA teams to take notice of. Syner ranks second in the conference in points with 16, including a team-high 11 assists. Pereira leads UMass in goals with eight, followed by Syner with five.

The puck will drop at 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cournoyer.