Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Power play unit leads UMass to victory in Friday’s season-opener

Minutemen score four man-advantage goals in win over RPI

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Power play unit leads UMass to victory in Friday’s season-opener

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

By Liam Flaherty, Collegian Staff

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In the Massachusetts hockey team’s 6-1 victory over Rensselaer Friday at the Mullins Center, a powerful display by the new-look power play ultimately decided the victory in the first period.

After exploding with the extra skater and amassing a 3-1 lead in the early goings, the Minutemen suppressed the Engineers’ (0-1) late attacks and secured the commanding victory.

For the first time since 2013, UMass (1-0) net a total of four goals on the man-advantage. In addition, three different skaters recorded goals in their first career games at the Mullins.

“For the first game, I thought it was a fairly sloppy game,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “But fortunately, our special teams were very strong tonight. Our power play let us down a lot of times last year, so we made it a focus point through September and it was good to see it be effective.”

“It’s nice to have that sensation,” Carvel added after the power play unit’s impressive debut. “Last year we played so well on [full strength] and then our power play was kind of futile. Tonight, our 5-on-5 game was just okay and the power play was effective, so it’s a nice change.”

Graduate transfer Jacob Pritchard, in his first game with UMass since transferring from St. Lawrence, got the Minutemen going on a 5-on-3 chance just over ten minutes into the first.

After receiving a pass from Cale Makar, the newcomer quickly slammed it through the crease.

On the second penalty of the 5-on-3, the UMass power-play unit went to work once again, as freshman defenseman Marc Del Gaizo took a pass from Pritchard and doubled the early

“It’s a big milestone for the freshman to get their first goal,” Pritchard said after two freshmen scored in the drubbing. “I know I was excited when I got mine so I’m very happy for them.”

After RPI got one back on a power play of its own, Mitchell Chaffee responded with the Minutemen’s third goal on the advantage in as many attempts, with John Leonard grabbing the assist.

After Makar, who scored five goals as a freshman, recorded his first tally of the season on a nifty effort to conclude the first, UMass ran into another man-advantage in the second.

With just over five minutes remaining in the middle frame, freshman defenseman Ty Farmer picked up his first career goal on an assist from fellow freshman Bobby Trivigno to make it 5-1.

“I think we were just exposing their zone defense and being able to get a lot of pucks on net,” Makar said after kicking off his sophomore stint. “We focused a lot in practice on getting in shots from the top. I think we got a lot of pucks through and we especially just banged rebounds in.”

Opposite of the four goals scored on the advantage, the young UMass group committed seven penalties. RPI only scored once on the power play, and Matt Murray (27 saves) kept it that way.

With the impressive debut that the extra-man unit put together on Friday, the group will look to carry over its efforts into Saturday night, when it rematches Rensselaer in Troy.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Houston Field House.

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

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