Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey blows third period lead against Vermont for sixth straight loss

By Ross Gienieczko

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(Mikey Yabusaki/Daily Collegian)

After a 4-2 lead through the opening two periods brought hope that this might the end of its five-game losing streak for the Massachusetts hockey team, UMass surrendered four goals in the third period, allowing Vermont to rally for a 6-4 victory on Saturday night at Mullins Center.

The third period was all too familiar for the Minutemen (7-14-4, 2-9-4 Hockey East. Ori Abramson scored just two minutes, 33 seconds into the frame to bring the Catamounts (11-14-2, 5-7-2) within one. Minutes later, on one of their eight power play chances on the night, Jonathan Turk scored the goal of the evening for the Catamounts, rushing down the left wing and beating UMass goaltender Nic Renyard with an unstoppable wrist shot. It was 4-4 and UVM was firmly in control of the game.

The game-winning goal came at 10 minutes, 19 seconds of the third period after a long period of offensive zonetime for the Catamounts. Eventually, the puck took a bad bounce and ended up on the stick of Mario Puskarich right in front of the net, making no mistake with the chance, scoring his seventh goal of the year to give UVM a 5-4 lead.

Brendan Bradley added an empty netter in the final minute to seal the deal.

After the game, UMass coach Micheletto was irate with the officials for a no-call on a hit on defenseman Callum Fryer that knocked him out of the game in the second period. He was also upset that the last six penalties of the game were called against the Minutemen.

“Not saying that our game was perfect, but to lose a defenseman halfway through, not get a penalty call, and then have six consecutive calls against you is a tough road to hope, for any team,” Micheletto said. “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.”

Overall UMass took eight penalties on the night, and the Catamounts converted two of the ensuing power play chances for goals that would prove crucial in the outcome of the game.

In the first period the Minutemen jumped out to a 3-1 lead behind two goals from sophomore forward Dennis Kravchenko and a power play strike from Patrick Lee.

But a pair of goals from standout UVM defenseman Alexx Privitera kept the game close, and after his second goal of the night it was 3-2 Minutemen at 10 minutes, 52 seconds of the second period.

Austin Plevy scored less than five minutes later to restore a two-goal lead, and the period ended with UMass ahead 4-2.

Despite allowing five goals, Renyard played well in net for UMass. He made 40 saves on the night and tracked the puck well. If not for his consistency, the Minutemen most likely would not have been in the game in the third period.

On the other end of the ice, UMass struggled offensively after scoring three goals in the opening period. In the last 40 minutes however, the Minutemen landed just 10 shots on goal.

After the first period, the ice was tilted completely in UVM’s favor. In the post-game press conference, coach Kevin Sneddon talked about what the Catamounts did better after the opening 20 minutes.

“Really, everything,” Sneddon said. “Our attention to detail was better, we were first to loose pucks in the offensive zone, we pressured their defensemen pretty well.

“I like the way we kept our foot on the gas (after the first period),” Sneddon continued. “I thought we played pretty well.”

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

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