UMass club hockey splits weekend games

By Matthew Zackman

Courtesy of Flickr/Nedral
Courtesy of Flickr/Nedral

After a win at Siena on Friday night, the Massachusetts club hockey team couldn’t follow up that performance against Connecticut, losing 5-2..

Despite being down 4-0 for the majority of the game, UMass rallied to score two goals before the final horn, but wasn’t enough to overcome the large deficit. Ryan Daigle rocketed a goal in the top left corner of the net for the Minutemen’s first goal at the end of the second period. Daigle proceeded to score the team’s only other goal at the beginning of the third period as he capitalized on a pass from Bret Mason.

UMass assistant coach Joe Smith made it clear that his team lacked the same energy that it had the previous night.

“On Saturday, we came out flat and it was evident that the late game on Friday night and long bus ride took a toll on our energy level early in the game,” Smith said.

Despite a goal by the Huskies right at the start of the game, Smith noted, “The best takeaway from this game was that we didn’t quit, and had a hard-charging third period rally as we’ve done multiple times this season.”

The Minutemen nearly turned the game into a one-goal contest when goaltender Luke Lepine was pulled for an extra attacker. UMass had an offensive zone faceoff, which Smith believed was “executed perfectly,” but Mason’s stick broke on his shot attempt, allowing the Huskies to recover the puck and fire a shot down the ice into the open net to seal the game.

Smith said capitalization is what ultimately cost UMass the game.

“They capitalized on our mistakes, (while) we weren’t able to take advantage of theirs,” he said.

The same resilience that has propelled the Minutemen to several comeback victories this season has also enabled them to finish the ACHA regular season ranked seventh in the Northeast region with a guaranteed bid in the regional tournament and a shot to play at Nationals.

UMass tops Siena

The Minutemen skated away with a 3-1 road victory at Siena on Friday night.

Because of the Minutemen’s quickness and depth, they took advantage of the larger, Olympic-sized rink and control the pace of the game for the majority of the evening.

Harris Stone prevented a goal by making a nice defensive play with his stick as Lepine got caught on the opposite side, leaving the goal wide open. Stone exemplified the intensity that the rest of the team played with throughout the evening.

“Our depth and ability to roll four lines gave us the ability to keep the pace at a high level that they couldn’t match,” Smith said.

Matthew Zackman can be reached at [email protected]