Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Trio of second period goals leads Maine to 3-1 win over UMass hockey

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(Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts hockey team was stymied by the play of Maine goaltender Jeremy Swayman on Tuesday night and fell 3-1 on the road in its fourth Hockey East Association matchup of the second half.

The Black Bears (12-9-2, 6-6-1 Hockey East Association) scored a trio of second period goals en route to their first victory in four games, coming from the sticks of Canon Pieper, Peter Housakos and Emil Westerlund.

Freshman forward Jake Gaudet got the Minutemen (10-10-1, 4-6-1 HEA) on the board with less than a minute left to play in the game after goaltender Ryan Wischow (17 saves) was pulled to create an extra attacker.

“I was very proud of our team tonight, we were excellent,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “We just ran into a very hot goaltender who had a little bit of help from the posts, but made a lot of saves. We dominated the game, the score wouldn’t tell you that, but the shots (35-20) were a little more indicative.”

Swayman turned away 34 of 35 shots from the Minutemen in net and improved to 9-5-1 in his first collegiate season.

“We had the puck for most of the game but [Swayman] is an All-American caliber goalie and is very good,” Carvel said. “We didn’t make life tough enough on him. We had lots of chances, but he was able to see a lot of them and the ones that were loose in the crease we just weren’t strong enough to find a way to get them into the back of the net.”

UMass was awarded six power plays on the night, even a 5-on-3 chance, but couldn’t finish on any of those special teams opportunities.

“That’s where you see the youth and immaturity of our team, we’re not heavy enough around the net,” Carvel said. “The power play was great and had lots of chances, we just couldn’t bury one.”

Play was scoreless through the first period, as the Minutemen outshot Maine by double digits and controlled the pace for a majority of the 20 minutes. The Black Bears, however, turned things on in the final minutes of the period and put some pressure on Wischow heading into the second.

Building off the momentum created at the end of the first, Maine got the scoring started at 2:35 when Pieper put home his third of the season to give Maine its initial lead. Nolan Vesey got the assist on the goal, which came eight seconds following a UMass penalty kill that began only 27 seconds into the period.

The Minutemen turned away all four power play opportunities from the Black Bears on the night but couldn’t keep the puck out of the net during even strength play in the second.

Housakos doubled the Maine lead at 6:17 of the period, scoring his third of the season following a break down in the UMass defensive zone.

Westerlund, a freshman forward, concluded the Black Bear scoring at 15:53, putting Maine ahead 3-0 heading into the final period. Chase Pearson got the assist on Westerlund’s fifth of the season.

Both teams played through a scoreless third, until Gaudet put home a rebound past Swayman with 35 seconds left in the game to ruin the freshman’s shutout hopes. Gaudet’s tally comes as his fifth of the season.

“Nothing to lose at that point, I thought if we could score quickly, I mean I’ve seen stranger things happen,” Carvel said. “And also kind of long term, I want to see if we can score 6-on-5 because if we’re in a game down one goal these guys will have confidence that they’ve been able to do it in the past.”

The Minutemen are back in action on Friday when they host Northeastern in the first game of a weekend home and home.

 

Liam Flaherty can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.

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