In hockey, there is only one player on the ice who can truly carry a team from start to finish, and that’s the goalie.
For the Massachusetts club hockey team, goaltender Dylan Campbell’s 34-save performance carried the team to a 1-1 tie in their Friday night game against UMass Lowell’s club hockey team.
With under a minute remaining in the first period, the River Hawks got careless with the puck and turned it over at their own blue line. The Minutemen capitalized, as Cam Fisher dished the puck back to Jonathan Seibel at the blue line. Seibel ripped a wrist shot past the River Hawk goaltender to make it 1-0 Minutemen.
Toward the end of the second period, UMass Lowell got on the board to make it 1-1 with a power play goal from right out in front of the net, spoiling Campbell’s shutout.
The Minutemen actually put another puck in the net during this game, however it didn’t count as it was knocked in with a high stick early in the first period.
Even though the Minutemen didn’t lose, the team certainly didn’t take it as a win.
“It was just a bad game,” said UMass coach Mike Defazio. “The only positive I saw was our goalie Dylan Campbell played well. If it wasn’t for him, we’d probably lose that game.”
Defazio’s words rang especially true in the third period, as Campbell stopped all 15 shots he faced, most of which came on a last minute power play for the River Hawks.
Two more large saves came in overtime for Campbell to keep the score knotted at one.
It was a change of scenery on offense for the Minutemen, as they had much more success in their previous games.
“The goals have been there all year,” Defazio said. “We put up nine goals, eight goals and then five goals in the other two games so that’s why a game like this is so shocking because what we saw today was half the speed of what we usually have.”
The lack of scoring for the Minutemen came from the River Hawks strategy on defense.
“We tried to open it up by throwing it to the defense and they still just packed it in,” Defazio said. “In the first period, our goal was to get in the slot and find some space up high, but they took that away. So they just packed everything in, kept everything to the outside, blocked shots and we just couldn’t get through to it.”
Overall, Defazio felt as though his team just did not come ready to play.
“I told [the team] you’re not going to show up here and not skate and win on skill,” Defazio said. “Our skating ability is our strength, so if we’re not skating, that’s what you’re going to get.”
After the tie with UMass Lowell, the Minutemen beat Marist 2-0 on Saturday, and will return to action on Friday as they host Keene State at 6 p.m. at the Mullins Center.
Evan Marinofsky can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @emarinofsky.