With a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of No. 5 Quinnipiac on Saturday night, the Massachusetts hockey team can finally part ways with a forgettable month of November. And forgettable might be an understatement.
The Minutemen were victorious just once all month, and that came all the way back on Nov. 2 against Maine. In the seven games since, they’ve been shut out twice, been beaten by three goals or more three times, including a 9-0 debacle against New Hampshire, and have slid to the bottom of the Hockey East standings despite playing more conference games (nine) than any other team.
On Saturday, it was about as ugly as it could get for UMass.
The Minutemen (3-10-2) had a mere 10 shots on goal – a combined four shots in the last two periods – to go with a whopping 39 penalty minutes, including a five-minute major and game misconduct on goaltender Steve Mastalerz for spearing, resulting in three power-play goals for the Bobcats.
It appeared for a brief moment that UMass was going to give last year’s national runner-up a battle after Michael Pereira netted the game’s first goal three minutes, 42 seconds into the first period to give the Minutemen the early lead.
But Quinnipiac (13-2-2) answered less than two minutes later with the first of six unanswered goals for the Bobcats in their most lopsided win of the season.
Kellen Jones scored the equalizer after Zach Tolkinen intercepted a pass off a UMass turnover and fed Sam Anas, who found Jones for the shot from the left circle that beat Mastalerz high.
Quinnipiac pulled ahead for good 16:42 into the first period when Bryce Van Brabant scored on the power play off assists from Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Tolkinen to take a 2-1 lead into intermission.
Things only got worse from there for the Minutemen.
Travis St. Denis doubled the Bobcats lead 9:21 into the second period, then Anas scored on Mac Haight following Mastalerz’s game misconduct to break the game open at 4-1.
Connor Jones and Brayden Sherbinin put some padding on the lead with goals in the third period, while goaltender Michael Garteig was given a relatively easy night, needing to make just nine saves in a winning effort.
UMass will look for a change in fortunes when it travels to South Bend, Ind., next weekend to take on Notre Dame in its final two Hockey East games before the holiday break.
Nick Canelas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.