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 hockey downed by penalties in loss at Notre Dame Friday night

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The old cliché is that showing up is half the battle. The problem for the Massachusetts hockey team is that it only showed up in one phase of the game Friday night.

The Minutemen nearly quadrupled their shot total from their previous game and recorded their highest goal total since Oct. 26, but were downed by three Notre Dame power-play goals – two in the third period – and an early penalty shot in a 5-3 loss in front of 4,830 in their first-ever trip to Compton Family Ice Arena.

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

The loss makes it eight straight winless contests for UMass (3-11-2,1-7-2 Hockey East) as it continues its early-season descend down the Hockey East standings, and not even a 39-shot effort was enough to mask the frustration.

“At this point we’ve come to realize that there are no moral victories in this league,” co-captain Troy Power said. “We’re happy with our effort, but we don’t have anything to show for it. We got zero points.”

The Minutemen’s biggest downfall Friday night was taking too many penalties. They took seven penalties and played a man down for 14 minutes, and the Irish capitalized quickly, starting with Jeff Costello’s goal on a penalty shot three minutes, 47 seconds into the game.

Costello, to the surprise of many, was awarded the penalty shot after Marc Hetnik was called for hooking on what UMass coach John Micheletto called a “one-handed puck slap” as the senior forward was heading toward the net. Nonetheless, Costello beat goaltender Steve Mastalerz (27 saves) glove side to give the Irish a 1-0 lead it would not relinquish.

“All of a sudden, fans aren’t even in their seats and you’re down 1-0 and you’re left scratching your head as to why,” Micheletto said.

Sam Herr doubled the Notre Dame advantage less than three minutes later when T.J. Tynan hit the sophomore forward crashing toward the net with a slick pass from behind the goal line to make it 2-0.

But the Minutemen got back into the game thanks to the Irish’s own discipline problems. UMass had two 5-on-3 advantages in the first period and cut the deficit in half on the first opportunity at 9:05 when Steven Iacobellis scored off assists from Joel Hanley and Ray Pigozzi.

On their second two-man advantage, which came after Mario Lucia and Stephen Johns were penalized just 12 seconds apart, the Minutemen came up empty. Ben Gallacher had UMass’ best chance of the advantage with a shot off a rebound right in front of the net that Irish goaltender Steven Summerhays stopped while down on his side facing toward Gallacher.

It was only a small part of an impressive night for Summerhays, who finished with 36 saves for the win despite facing a whopping 18 first-period shots, two 5-on-3’s and a number of quality UMass chances.

“I think we’re happy about our effort getting pucks to the net and I think we gave ourselves a chance to find rebounds and came up a little short on burying some opportunities early in the game,” Power said.

Andy Ryan extended Notre Dame’s lead to 3-1 with a slap shot from the top of the left circle on the power play, but Branden Gracel responded with what a appeared to be a momentum-swinging goal on the man-advantage with 4.3 seconds left in the second period to make it 3-2.

But as UMass struggled to get the equalizer in the third period, the frustration started to show. The Minutemen were called for three penalties in the period and two of them turned into Irish goals as they pulled away late.

“You try to play to your strengths and get some penalty calls your way and then exploit it on the power play,” Micheletto said. “Unfortunately, (Friday) our penalty kill faltered in the third.”

Friday’s effort is a significant improvement from its last few contests, but it’s all meaningless unless UMass starts earning some critical Hockey East points, which it has a chance to do Saturday at 6:35 p.m. when the two teams meet again.

“We’ve got a good team, we’ve got a bad record,” Micheletto said. “That’s unfortunate. We need to find ways to manufacture wins.”

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

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