Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey beats Vermont 6-3 in courageous win

(Caroline O’Connor/ Daily Collegian)

For the first time in five seasons, the Massachusetts hockey team came out on top against Vermont.

Saturday night at the Gutterson Fieldhouse, UMass (10-9-1, 4-5-1 Hockey East Association) matched a season-high six goals scored in its 6-3 win over the Catamounts (4-14-4, 1-8-3 HEA), for the Minutemen’s first victory over UVM since a 3-2 win on Jan. 25, 2013.

“Absolutely,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said when asked if thought this was a gutsy win. “I think the team did a good job adjusting all night. The best sign for us (though) was to get the win on the road. It’s a real step forward for us.”

Sophomore Jack Suter potted the game-winning tally for the Minutemen in the third period off a nice redirection from Brett Boeing’s initial shot. Suter’s third goal of the season at 15:46 catapulted UMass to the win, granting the Minutemen three of a possible four points on the weekend.

“(Vermont) battled back hard (so) it was definitely great to tip it in,” Suter said. “I thought we were the better team tonight and it was really important to get those two points tonight.”

The Catamounts proved to be a tough out for UMass all night long as they battled back from two separate two-goal deficits, including a rally in the third period that knotted the contest at 3-3.

Suter’s go-ahead goal took the wind out of UVM’s sails however, and the Minutemen scored two unanswered, empty-net goals from Cale Makar and Austin Plevy, to earn their first win of 2018.

Sophomore Niko Hildenbrand earned his first multi-goal game of his career, beating Catamount goaltender Stefanos Lekkas (32 saves) twice over the 60-minute span to pace UMass in the goal scoring department.

Freshman Mario Ferraro finished with the most points, notching three assists, to bring his season point total to 12. Junior Brett Boeing and redshirt sophomore Josh Couturier each finished the night with a pair of assists.

Down a man following a George Mika cross-checking penalty at 10:58, UMass scored its first of the game when freshman Jake Gaudet netted his fourth of the year on a 2-on-1 shorthanded odd-man rush at 11:19 of the first period.

Hildenbrand joined the party scoring another shorthanded goal, when he scored 57 seconds after Gaudet’s strike, to double the Minutemen’s lead to 2-0.

Then 12 seconds later, the Catamounts scored on their power play off a Rob Darrar shot that rounded out a wild 1:19 seconds in the first.

The next goal wasn’t scored until the early stages of the third period when Hildenbrand recorded his second of the evening and sixth of the season after taking a nifty pass from freshman John Leonard and tapping it over the goal line

Christan Evers and Trey Philips evened the game at 3-3 a little under midway through the last period for UVM, but it wasn’t enough as UMass pulled away with three more markers to seal the win.

Earning his seventh win of the year, sophomore Ryan Wischow was on his game for the Minutemen, making 31 saves in the winning effort.

Next up for UMass is a Tuesday night contest with No. 20 Maine in Orono, marking the Minutemen’s fifth straight road game. Carvel is looking forward to the matchup and even used the term “road warriors” to describe the mindset of his group right now.

“Obviously Maine’s a hostile environment but if we come out and establish our play in the first five minutes, I think we can take them,” said Suter.

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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