Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass coach John Micheletto frustrated with officiating in 6-4 loss to UVM

By Jason Kates

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(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

Three times.

That’s how many times Massachusetts hockey coach John Micheletto mentioned the fact that six consecutive penalties were called on the Minutemen in their latest defeat, a 6-4 loss to Vermont in which they were outscored by their opposition 4-0 in the final period.

Despite building a 4-2 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of play, things began to tilt in the Catamounts’ (11-14-2, 5-7-2 Hockey East) favor in the second period after a vicious hit on freshman defenseman Callum Fryer resulted in a no-call, and Fryer leaving the game with an undisclosed injury.

This led to Micheletto’s first mention of the “six consecutive penalties.”

“Not saying that our game was perfect, but to lose a defenseman halfway through and not get a penalty call and then have six consecutive penalties called on you is a very, very tough road to hope for any team, home or away,” a visibly frustrated Micheletto said after the game.

“I don’t know if I need to throw water bottles on the ice to start getting calls, but it’s a shame what happened to our guys tonight,” he added.

The Minutemen finished with eight penalties on the night, three of which were assessed on UMass (7-14-4, 2-9-4 HEA) captain Steven Iacobellis.

These penalties, combined with the added absence of Fryer, led to the Minutemen having a short bench and exerting a lot of energy that came back to haunt them.

Cue the second mention of “six consecutive penalties.”

“One of your best penalty killers on the back end gets hurt, your best penalty killer at forward is called for three minor infractions, you’re going invest a lot of time in a very short bench,” Micheletto said. “The impact of, if I haven’t mentioned, six penalties called on us in a row, is difficult for anybody to manage.”

Dennis Kravchenko, who scored two goals on the night and found the back of the net for the first time since Oct. 30, discussed how important of a loss it was when Fryer had to exit the game, noting his size and presence on the penalty kill.

“(Fryer’s) a great defenseman,” Kravchenko said. “He’s solid on the puck, he gets shots on net, blocks shots, the kid’s just all-around solid and losing a kid like that, that’s a big physical body that you lost.

“He’s one of our physical guys so it really hurt the team, especially with the ice tilting in the second and third period. Losing (Fryer) in the second really hurt us, but we did it to ourselves tonight.”

Even in the loss, Micheletto said it was fantastic to see Kravchenko and freshman Austin Plevy getting back on the score sheet, but still lamented the end result.

“The shame of it is you don’t get the reward you deserve,” Micheletto said. “There should be a lot better feeling going on in that locker room tonight, those guys deserve better, it’s unfortunate that they don’t have it.”

When asked if any positive progress would be taken from Saturday’s loss, Micheletto acknowledged the importance of not just progress, but wins.

This led to his final mention of the “six consecutive penalties.”

“When you’re in a bad stretch, wins help confidence,” Micheletto said. “When you do a lot of good things and have six penalties in a row called on you, its difficult for your focus to be anywhere but frustrated.”

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

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