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

Collin Delia outshines Nic Renyard in net in UMass’ defeat to No. 14 Merrimack

Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian
Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

The puck was there for Ray Pigozzi.

But as he was all night, so was Merrimack goaltender Collin Delia.

With about 20 seconds remaining in the game and the Massachusetts hockey team down 3-2 to the No. 14 Warriors (6-1-2, 2-1-2 Hockey East), the junior forward had the ideal opportunity to find the back of the net and send the game into overtime, but a kick save from Delia thwarted Pigozzi’s effort and secured the 4-2 victory over the Minutemen (6-3-1, 2-2-1 HEA), following an empty net goal from Hampus Gustafsson with six seconds remaining.

Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy praised the efforts of his goaltender, especially Delia’s game-saving stop on Pigozzi.

“I saw him get his toe over it, I didn’t have a completely perfect view, but I saw kind of what was happening and guess he made pretty good save,” Dennehy said, recalling the last moments of the contest.

“We kid around with our goaltenders that they’ve only got to make one save a game, the game-winner, and that happened to be it,” he added.

UMass captain Steven Iacobellis, who recorded two assists on the night, acknowledged Delia’s play in net but also recognized his team’s lack of execution as the Minutemen’s biggest problem in the defeat.

UMass finished with 31 shots, forcing Delia to make 29 saves, eight of which came in the final 20 minutes of the game.

“Personally I had about four or five shots and a couple ones in tight,” Iacobellis said. He was quick, he was really good down low and he’s a really agile goaltender.

“He did enough to help his team win, unfortunately that’s on us. That’s on the forwards and that’s on the players.”

For UMass coach John Micheletto, Pigozzi’s last-ditch attempt to tie the game won’t be the only opportunity he remembers from Friday.

“I’ll probably be reminded of four or five,” he said. “I think we had in the second half of the second period probably three looks that a lot of people in the building were already out of their seat on, and then certainly in the third I thought we had opportunities as well.”

Perhaps the best chance for UMass came in the second period when it was trailing 1-0 and received a five-on-three power play.

But despite a five-minute major and game misconduct by Warriors defenseman Matt Cronin and another penalty to defender Aaron Titcomb, the Minutemen couldn’t beat Delia, letting a major opportunity slip away.

Opposite of Delia, UMass goalie Nic Renyard finished with 23 saves, including 10 in the opening 20 minutes that kept Merrimack from pulling too far ahead.

Micheletto thought the freshman played well, especially in the first period.

“They only generated two shots from the critical area in the second, but he’s certainly been good for us in the early going here and he continues to give us an opportunity to win,” Micheletto said. “We put him in a bad spot on the third one, it was a tough turnover there at that point in the game, but he’s been very solid.”

Renyard said he knew Merrimack’s style of play would be difficult to handle but feels he grew into the game as it went on.

“Any time you have to battle traffic like they did against me today, I think it helps get into the flow and feel good,” he said.

Renyard’s record as a starter dropped to 4-2-1 for the season. Delia improved to 6-1-2.

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

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  • U

    umass foreverNov 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm


    UMass hockey could really do something this year with an attitude change. It’s the responsibility of the coaching staff to instill the right attitude into every player:

    1. Treat “bad” teams with respect. If you really think you’re superior to a team, you should be trying to destroy them from the moment the puck drops.

    2. Treat “good” teams with no respect. Don’t be stupid and buy into hype or reputation spewed by the PR machinery of rich schools. Grow some balls.

  • U

    umass foreverNov 18, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    On the other hand, they have a bad attitude against so-called “good” teams – they’re intimidated by better reputation, wealth, facilities, fans. None of these things matter. The only thing that matters is how many freakin pucks go in the freakin net.

    Look at UMass-Lowell. Regardless of the opponent, they come out swinging.

  • U

    umass foreverNov 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    This is typical for UMass hockey. Even when they’ve got talent, they have a bad attitude – sheer arrogance.

    When they play a “bad” team, they ALWAYS start off with less focus and passion. It’s as if they’re comfortable.
    Who the hell do they think they are? Is this a rec league or is this the NCAA? Every single team can beat UMass on any given night if they don’t attack and defend like the game matters from the puck drop.