Minutemen blank Boston College

By Nick Canelas

Maria Uminski/Collegian
Maria Uminski/Collegian

It was a night of firsts for the Massachusetts hockey team in its 4-0 upset win over No. 4 Boston College.

Although it is their second win of the season over the Eagles, the Minutemen (9-8-5, 5-6-4 Hockey East) shutout the Eagles for the first time in the in-state rivalry.

Freshman netminder Steve Mastalerz kept BC (14-9-1, 10-6-1 HEA) scoreless, with his 35 saves enough to give him his first career shutout.

“[Mastalerz] gave us a chance to win the game early when we weren’t playing as well as I would have liked to see us play,” said UMass coach Don Cahoon. “He made some great saves in the first period to keep the score knotted at zero. Then we collected our legs and played with a little more intelligence the rest of the way and he continued to make big saves.”

Mastalerz was also the first Minutemen goalie to record an assist in a game since Jonathan Quick assisted on a goal in 2006..This came at 6:18 of the second period when Mastalerz hit Conor Allen with an outlet pass that the sophomore drove to the right circle and fired past Eagles goaltender Brian Billett.

BC appeared to have the scoring opportunity it was searching for with a man-advantage just minutes later. However they were caught on the counter-attack when Peter DeAngelo and Allen led a two-on-one break into the offensive zone. DeAngelo skipped the pass to Allen who then fed the sophomore forward right back for the one-timer to extend the lead to 2-0 at the 9:17 mark.

It was the first shorthanded goal for the Minutemen since February 2009.

“It was a really nice play all around, and I was really happy for [DeAngelo],” said Cahoon. “I think he was brilliant in every way.”

“He’s been as good over the last few weeks as any of our players, so I’m really delighted for him. There’s not a better character guy on our team.”

Senior captain T.J. Syner, who put together his first multi-goal game of the season, recorded the final two tallies of the game for UMass. The first goal was the final shot Billett would see before being replaced by Chris Venti.

Even a change in goalie wasn’t enough to stop Syner, who gave the Minutemen a 4-0 cushion 9:30 into the third period, which was more than enough to put the game away for good.

Seventh time’s a charm

It may have taken seven tries, but UMass finally collected its first overtime win of the season in front of a sellout crowd at Fenway Park, beating Vermont by a score of 3-2.

Senior defenseman Michael Marcou was the game’s hero, as his power play goal with 22.3 seconds remaining in the extra frame lifted the Minutemen to a walk-off win.

After firing an initial shot that went off the pad of UVM goalie Rob Madore, a scrum for the puck ensued out in front of the net. The puck somehow trickled back out to the stick of Marcou who fired it into the back of the net to seal the win.

“The first thing that came to mind, I said I can relate to Big Papi [David Ortiz] when he hits a walkoff home run in the 11th because that’s what it felt like given the nature of the overtime,” said Cahoon.

Sophomore Eric Filiou committed a first period penalty that led to a power play goal for the Catamounts, but he made up for that miscue just 15 seconds later, by scoring his first goal of the season, and knotting the score at one.

Senior captain Danny Hobbs registered his fifth multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist.

UMass netminder Jeff Teglia notched his first win of the season with a 24-save output that included a pair of game-saving goals in overtime.

“I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to get the start,” said Teglia. “It was a great opportunity and I thank my teammates for helping me make the most of it.”

Playing in overtime was nothing new for the Minutemen, who just two days prior skated to a 4-4 draw at Providence.

The top line for UMass – Syner, Branden Gracel and Conor Sheary – made the biggest impact on the night and combined for six points. However, it was Hobbs that came through in the clutch as his game-tying goal in the final minute of the contest helped the Minutemen come away with a point.

After a Stefan Demopoulos wrister gave the Friars a 4-3 lead and just one minute and 39 seconds remaining in the game, UMass pulled goalie Kevin Boyle to bring an extra skater on the ice.

With the extra-attacker in the game, Hobbs took a centering pass from Syner and fired a shot that found the back of the net at the 19:23 mark, forcing the extra frame.

“That was huge, that was a big piece,” said Cahoon. “We came ready to play and these guys didn’t want to walk out of here with anything short of a point, for sure.”

The matchup was a back-and-forth battle that saw each team lead twice.

Providence got on the board first off a shorthanded goal by Andy Balysky at 12:05, but the lead was erased at 17:21 when Sheary took a feed from Gracel and hammered it past Friar goaltender Alex Beaudry.

The Minutemen took a 2-1 lead into the locker-room after the second period, but Providence answered with the equalizer just 2:38 into the third on a Steven Shamanski tally.

The teams traded goals yet again to even the score at three, setting the stage for the dramatics in the final minutes of regulation.

“I think the guys came to play, but they’ve got to play more thoroughly in different situations,” added Cahoon.

UMass splits in Florida

The Minutemen came up short in the finale of the Florida Everblades College Classic in Estero, Fla., falling to Maine 5-2 in non-conference play.

Despite staying in the game until the very end, UMass was incapable of digging itself out of an early 2-0 hole after the first period, getting outshot 14-1 in the opening frame.

Syner cut the lead to 2-1 at 7:36 in the second after Hobbs found his co-captain all alone past the Maine defense. From there, Syner finished it off by burying the puck past Dan Sullivan to bring the Minutemen back into the game.

The excitement, however, was short-lived as the Black Bears responded just two minutes later with a power play goal by Mark Anthoine. Special teams opportunities proved to be detrimental for UMass as it went just 0-for-5 mark on the power play compared to Maine, who finished 3-for-7 on the man-advantage.

The Minutemen were able to respond again with a goal from Steven Guzzo 8:35 into the third to make it 3-2, but Maine responded with two more of their own to put the game out of reach.

UMass set up this matchup thanks to a 5-2 triumph over No. 13 Cornell in the semi-final game.

Sheary led the way for the Minutemen with a three-point performance that included two goals and an assist, a performance that helped earn him All-Tournament honors. Sheary finished with two goals and two assists in the Tournament.

The first goal scored by Sheary came early in the second period, when Hobbs collected a rebound off the pad of Big Red goaltender Andy Illes and skipped a pass to the other side of the net on the tape of Sheary. The sophomore was left with a wide-open net, and scored with ease.

Sheary again found the net in the closing minutes of the game to help put the game out of reach.

Boyle also put together a strong performance for UMass, recording 27 saves for his team-high fifth win of the season.

Nick Canelas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Canelas.