UMass hockey once again finds success in third period in tie with UNH

By Jason Kates

Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian
Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

With five minutes, five seconds left in the second period, the Massachusetts hockey team appeared well on its way to its first loss of the season after finding itself down 6-1 to New Hampshire.

Then the third period began.

After a Ray Pigozzi goal cut the deficit to 6-2 with 3:35 left in the second period, the Minutemen (3-0-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) scored four consecutive goals in the final frame to complete the comeback, earning a hard-fought 6-6 tie Friday night.

Dominic Trento, who scored the tying goal with 2:40 left in regulation, said the great thing about UMass this year is “they ride the roller coaster.”

“It’s one goal at a time, one shift at a time, so we weren’t really thinking about the scoreboard much,” Trento said after the game. “We just wanted to go out there and put our best effort out, and we knew (we) could score goals.”

He added: “They put up four on us, so I think it was the calm before the storm, and luckily we popped in a couple there.”

The comeback began about three minutes into the final period when Anthony Petrella found the back of the net to cut the deficit to three. After Dennis Kravchenko fired a wrist shot past Wildcats (1-2-1, 0-0-1 HEA) goalie Danny Tirone five minutes later to make it 6-4, the mindset stayed the same: one goal at a time.

“After that goal, it was one of those things where we were like, ‘We’re gonna get it,’ you could just feel momentum had a white jersey on today in that third period,” Trento said. “We had a lot of confidence in each other, and we knew we were going to come away with something there.”

While coach John Micheletto said he’s always trying to think of what’s next for his team during in-game situations, he acknowledged the excitement that came with his team’s latest third period success.

“You get caught up in the moment when the goals go in, that’s for sure,” he said. “You live and die through your players, so it’s an emotional game, and I think the best part about it is that we control the emotion, and we don’t let the emotion control us.

“There is joy and elation, you see our guys celebrate, you see what their interactions are like on the bench,” Micheletto added. “You share in that as a coach, and I certainly am excited for them.”

Depth is something Micheletto acknowledged is as an asset for UMass this season, which was put on display Friday after six different players found themselves in the goal column.

“It’s been the message from the coaching staff throughout the course of the preseason and the early part of the year is I love our depth,” he said. “We can roll guys over the bench, and they can all play both sides of the puck and contribute offensively.”

With two games coming up next week in the Capital City Classic, Micheletto said he knows improvement can still be made as the season progresses.

“I’m awfully proud of what we were able to accomplish in the third period, but we certainly know that on balance, there are things that we need to be better at to come away with two points instead of one moving forward,” he said.

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jason_Kates.