Penalties keep Holy Cross close to UMass club hockey

By Justin Ekstrom

(Collegian File Photo)

An abundance of penalties kept things interesting in the Massachusetts club hockey team’s 4-3 victory over Holy Cross, Monday.

A first period consisting of high sticking, tripping, roughing and cross checking landed the Minutemen with more penalties than they had in their entire game against Boston University.

When asked about the penalties, assistant coach Casey Litwack said he, “wants to see aggression, but not at the wrong times. There was too much happening after the whistle.” On two instances, heated exchanges after play resulted in double penalties.

In the end, UMass accumulated 22 total penalty minutes, leaving the defense to kill numerous power plays. After allowing the Crusaders their first goal, UMass’ defense held strong, not allowing a goal for over 53 minutes.

The same resilience was shown by the Crusaders, who killed five out of six power plays. Their streak was cut short when Cameron Fisher’s goal broke the tie at one. The Minutemen eventually entered the third period with a two-goal-lead and some momentum on their side.

Momentum, however, was slowly lost as the Minutemen accumulated another five penalties in the final sixteen minutes of the game. With 6:46 left to play and Holy Cross with a five-on-three advantage, the Crusaders scored to further cut the Minutemen’s lead.

“We gave up one goal but it’s a lot to ask of our guys,” Litwack said. Holy Cross ended up having seven power plays.

Holy Cross quickly cut UMass down to one with 1:19 left. An exciting back and forth final minute resulted in the Minutemen’s second win.  Litwack was quick to compliment Holy Cross’ ability to come back.

Litwack noted that his team “needs to work on playing a full 60 minutes,” ahead of its next game against Connecticut on Friday.

Senior Patrick Baker, sophomore Zane Hassoun and senior assistant captain Dennis Medeiros all made impressive stands during the third period. It is early in the season and although this was a rough game for the Minutemen, several players shined. The team has until Friday to prepare for UConn, but for now they can be relieved double digit penalties did not get in the way of a 2-0 start to the season.

Justin Ekstrom can be reached at [email protected]