UMass club hockey dominated in road series vs. No. 2 Florida Gulf Coast

UMass club hockey dominated in road series vs. No. 2 Florida Gulf Coast

By Zander Manning

After defeating Montclair State University the previous weekend, the Massachusetts club hockey team came into this weekend ranked sixth nationally and second in the Northeast Region of the Division II American Collegiate Hockey Association.

However, the Minutemen (13-4-1) fell to No. 2 Florida Gulf Coast University (17-2-0) on the road in a two-game weekend series, 6-1 and 7-1, respectively.

“It was just an uncharacteristic weekend. That’s the best way to summarize it,” UMass coach Mike DeFazio said. “We made a lot of mistakes this weekend we don’t ever usually make. Some we made a lot of last year. We just played some sloppy hockey.” 

It was a poor second period that did the Minutemen in on Saturday, as they gave up four goals in the period.

The Eagles led 1-0 going into the second, when junior forward Joshua Koerner scored his 16th goal of the season 4:51 into the period to put FGCU up 2-0.

From there, Eagles forward Jordan Klotz scored twice in a row and was credited with an assist on Logan Garst’s goal 16:24 into the period, putting FGCU up 5-0. UMass sophomore forward Artie Potter got the Minutemen on the board with a goal at the 18:50 mark of the second period.

Eagles freshman forward Brandon Beard scored his 12th goal of the season in the third period, giving the Eagles a 6-1 victory.

“We made a lot of bad passes in the defensive zone,” DeFazio said. “We had some bad turnovers that led to goals. Defensively, we didn’t create havoc for them; we made it easy. We let guys get into our defensive zone. We just did a lot of things we don’t normally do.”

 Friday night served as a foreshadowing of things to come on Saturday, as UMass allowed four goals in a period as well — this time in the first period — against FGCU.

The first goal came from Beard at 9:37, the second from freshman forward Brandyn Fogarty, the third from Klotz and the fourth from sophomore forward David Wong.

Starting in net for the Minutemen was senior Connor Walker, but DeFazio placed no blame on him for the score at the end of the period. If anything, DeFazio praised the senior for keeping the score where it was.

“It was not [Walker’s] fault; I can’t peg that on them,” DeFazio said. “Our defensive play is what put us in bad situations. I think in the past, we’ve had our goalies bail us out more, but I’m not going to sit here and blame our goalies. Walker let in four goals [in the first period], and it could have been 8-0.”

In the second period, the Eagles continued to pour it on, making it six unanswered goals with two in the period, one from sophomore forward Brett Yochum 2:21 in, and another from Wong at 8:29. At that point, DeFazio switched goalies and inserted sophomore forward Ryan LaCroix into the net.

LaCroix finished with 25 saves. He allowed one goal, which completed a hat-trick for the scorer, Wong. UMass sophomore Ted Zimmerman got the Minutemen on the board at 14:18 of the second period.

In their next matchup, the Minutemen will travel to Smithfield, Rhode Island to take on Bryant University, which currently sits at 3-8-1.

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