Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass slides out of playoff spot after managing just one point at UNH

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

With only one weekend left in the regular season, the Massachusetts hockey team is on the outside looking in for the playoffs.

After entering the weekend with a one-point advantage over Maine for the eighth and final playoff spot, the Minutemen (11-18-3, 8-15-2 Hockey East Association) were shut out 4-0 by New Hampshire Saturday night at the Whittemore Center, dropping them one point behind the Black Bears for the final playoff spot.

UMass kept the No. 5 Wildcats (18-8-6, 13-7-5 HEA) off the board through one period, but it  took UNH just 70 seconds in the second period to open the floodgates. After picking up a turnover at the blue line, John Henrion beat  Steve Mastalerz over his shoulder to put the Wildcats ahead, 1-0.

Henrion notched his second goal of the contest midway through the period after beating Mastalerz on the power play, pushing the UNH lead to 2-0. The scored remained that way after 40 minutes of play.

With its backs against the walls, UMass came out hard in the third period, firing 10 shots at Wildcats goalie Casey DeSmith, but couldn’t solve the sophomore goaltender.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 3-0 six minutes into the period when Mastalerz was beat by Matt Willows on a breakaway after he got behind the Minutemen defense and went in all alone.

Henrion completed his hat trick with 28 seconds left in the game when he scored an empty-net goal and sealed the 4-0 win for UNH.

DeSmith completed his fifth shutout of the season, stopping 25 shots in the contest, while Mastalerz recorded 29 saves on 32 shots in the loss.

Perhaps bigger news coming out of the game was when junior forward Michael Pereira left the game midway through the second period after receiving a hard check into the boards. Pereira, who is second on the Minutemen with 26 points, did not return to the game. His status for next weekend is still uncertain.

UMass settles for tie Friday

UMass appeared to have a much-needed two points in hand when Eddie Olczyk beat DeSmith with just 1 minute, 5 seconds left in regulation on Friday night at the Whittemore Center.

However, Henrion was just getting his big weekend started when his goal with 3.7 seconds left in game evened the score at 2 apiece, forcing the overtime period and an eventual 2-2 tie with the Minutemen.

The senior poked home a rebound at the side of the net with the extra-attacker on to force the extra frame and steal a point from the UMass after a scoreless overtime period.

Pereira got the Minutemen on the board first in the game, notching his 13th goal of the season 12:19 into the first period.

UMass held the lead until the halfway mark of the second period, when Willows tied the game at 1-1, beating Mastalerz from the point on the power play.

Mastalerz finished the game with 32 saves on 34 shots, while DeSmith made 35 saves on 37 shots for the Wildcats.

The Minutemen finish their season next weekend, with a home-and-home series against No. 17 Merrimack.

Friday’s game will take place at the Warriors’ Lawler Arena at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night’s season-finale is at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @MDC_Strohecker.


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