Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey suffers first setback against No. 13 Yale Saturday

By Ross Gienieczko

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Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian

(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

After a thrilling 5-4 overtime win against Maine in the opening round of the Capital City Classic Friday, the Massachusetts hockey team came back down to earth Saturday night, as the Minutemen lost the tournament finale in a 6-1 rout against No. 13 Yale.

It was the first loss of the season for UMass (4-1-1) and it ended a historic team streak. The Minutemen’s five-game unbeaten run to begin the season was the best start in its Division I program history.

As an Ivy League school, the Bulldogs (2-0) were playing in just their second game of the season but showed no rust in a dominating performance over the Minutemen. Yale opened the scoring just four minutes, 51 seconds into the game on a power play goal from Mike Doherty, the first of three power play goals the Bulldogs would score on the night.

“We came out of the gate real good, but (Yale goaltender) Alex Lyon made some real nice saves,” UMass coach John Micheletto said after the game. “But we get a penalty called on us … and they poke it home.”

John Hayden, Ryan Hitchcock and Ryan Obuchowski each added a goal for Yale, while forward Joe Snively scored a pair of goals to lead the charge offensively.

UMass scored its lone goal of the night courtesy of senior forward Shane Walsh, who scored his sixth goal of the season in just six games. The senior led all returning players with 14 goals last season in his junior campaign, and is off to another hot start for the Minutemen.

“We had plenty of offense, but we didn’t get the scoring we needed to,” Micheletto said.

The lone goal represented UMass’s lowest scoring output of the season to this point.

Freshman Nic Renyard started the game in net for UMass, resulting in the first loss of his collegiate career. His record now stands at 2-1-1 after he was pulled just six minutes, six seconds into the second period after Yale took a 3-0 lead.

He was replaced by sophomore Henry Dill, who didn’t fare much better in relief. Dill also surrendered three goals, and it was the second time in as many weekends that UMass coach John Micheletto pulled his starting goaltender.

“At that point, it felt like a change would be good for our game,” Micheletto said. “Obviously, tonight that wasn’t the case.”

Last week, a mid-game goaltending change ended in a stunning 6-6 tie against New Hampshire after the Minutemen scored five unanswered goals to storm back from a 6-1 deficit. Saturday, however, there was no such rally.

In the first game of the tournament, the Minutemen needed extra time to dispatch the Black Bears in a dramatic 5-4 victory. UMass built a 4-2 third period lead, but Maine stormed back to tie the game before Ray Pigozzi’s shot deflected off a Black Bears skater for the overtime winner. Dennis Kravchenko scored two goals in the game to lead the Minutemen offensively. Kravchenko was also named the third star of Saturday night’s defeat.

UMass will hardly get a chance to catch its breath, as the Minutemen will travel to Chestnut Hill for a rare Tuesday night matchup against No. 4 Boston College. Puck drop in that game is set for 7 p.m. at Conte Forum.

Ross Gienieczko can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @RossGien.

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