Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass club hockey sweeps weekend series over Keene State, Northeastern

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Collegian File Photo

(Collegian File Photo)

With 2:04 left in the third period, the Massachusetts club hockey team faced a four-on-three penalty. The Minutemen escaped both penalties unscathed and the game went into overtime with the score deadlocked at three.

Northeastern (10-5-2) won the opening faceoff, but UMass (11-10-3) picked the puck up in the neutral zone. Sophomore forward Cam Fisher took a shot from the right faceoff circle and beat Huskies goaltender Zachary Webert blocker side (his second goal of the game) giving the Minutemen a 4-3 victory in overtime Saturday night at home.

“I was talking to one of my teammates before, Rob Tirea, and I told him to shoot the puck into the zone and kind of got a handle of it, stole it from the [defense] and went in and deked the goalie,” Fisher said.

Fisher said he didn’t expect the puck to go in, that he was just trying to get a good jump on the Huskies early in overtime, but was happy it went in regardless. UMass finished with 35 shots on the game.

After UMass went up 1-0 early in the first period on a goal by Terrence Doonan, Northeastern’s Ian Penvose tied the game at 1-1 less than four minutes into the second period. Five minutes later, the Huskies scored again off the stick of Andrew Bradano, giving them a 2-1 lead 8:48 into the period.

UMass tied it up when Fisher scored off a feed from senior forward Scott Campbell to even the score at 2-2.

“I was expecting a pass from one of my teammates and it ended up going off the defenseman’s skate and in,” Fisher said.

Northeastern went up early in the third period when Joseph Verespej scored the Huskies’ third goal three minutes into the period. UMass senior forward Adam Kmetz scored a minute later to tie the game at three.

Coach Mike DeFazio was in Philadelphia on a business trip, but assistant coach Scott Cooke stepped in and took the role that DeFazio left during the weekend series.

“It’s a little nerve racking sometimes coming back and playing like that without the whole staff there,” Cooke said. “The boys are pretty used to it. We’ve had a lot of adversity throughout the season with injuries and people being in and out so I think we dealt pretty well with it.”

DeFazio is expected to be back for next weekend’s games.

Another noticeable difference for the Minutemen was the absence of transfer Garrett Torrico, a player DeFazio had looked forward to using on the power play going forward.

According to Cooke, Torrico has withdrawn from the program due to personal reasons. It has not been determined whether or not he will return to the team this season.

UMass goalie Ryan LaCroix started in goal both games this weekend for the Minutemen and stood on his head Saturday, stopping 28 of Northeastern’s 31 shots.

“He played last night and he played great,” Cooke said. “Unfortunately Walker was sick the last few days of the week, so we figured we’d give LaCroix a shot and he battled hard last night.”

On Friday night, UMass traveled to Keene State in a rematch from the previous weekend when they fell to the Owls at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham.

The Minutemen came out with a tight 2-1 victory off the strength of two early goals.

Next weekend, UMass plays its final home games of the regular season. The first is on Friday at 8:00 p.m. against Connecticut and the second Saturday at 8:30 p.m. against Vermont.

Zander Manning can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @ZMSportsReport.

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