UMass hockey completes sweep over Union with 5-0 rout

The Minutemen outscored the Dutchmen 11-1 on the weekend

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UMass hockey completes sweep over Union with 5-0 rout

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

By Noah Bortle, Assistant Sports Editor

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After losing the opening faceoff, the Massachusetts hockey team found itself on the wrong end of an odd-man rush. Goaltender Filip Lindberg made the save, deflecting Union’s shot wide of the net with his left pad.

Although Union (0-6) found themselves with a scoring chance less than 10 seconds into the game, not much went right for them the rest of the way. UMass (3-1, 0-1 Hockey East) cruised through the rest of the game, winning by a score of 5-0 to solidify the weekend sweep at home.

“I thought it was a real consistent effort tonight,” coach Greg Carvel said. “I thought we were really consistent for all three periods. I’m very happy with the weekend.”

Goals came early and often for the Minutemen with tallies coming from four different players.

Mitchell Chaffee led UMass in points on the night. The junior winger recorded two goals and an assist in the game.

“Chaffee came through tonight,” Carvel said.

“I was trying to shoot the puck more,” Chaffee said, “which was, coming into the game, something that I needed to do, and I thought that putting more pucks on net was big.”

Chaffee’s first goal came towards the halfway point of the second period. On the power play, Chaffee brought the puck across the crease. He tried to backhand a shot over Hanson’s pads but was denied. No. 21 wouldn’t be denied on his second attempt and gave UMass a 3-0 lead.

“There was a big lane to the net,” Chaffee said, “so I just decided to try to take it back post and tried going five-hole. It came back out to me, so I kind of put it far side.”

The goal came as part of a three-goal second period, another of which also came from Chaffee, and finalized the score at 5-0.

Freshman Zac Jones added to a big weekend of his own. After three points on Friday, Jones assisted two more goals on Saturday, giving himself five points in the two Union matchups.

Following Union’s opening scoring chance, the Minutemen found themselves with a chance of its own. Anthony Del Gaizo beat a Union defender to a loose puck, generating a partial breakaway. Unlike the Dutchmen, Del Gaizo took advantage of his early scoring opportunity.

Just 58 seconds into the game, UMass had a 1-0 lead.

While the Minutemen scored two goals in the opening frame, they did so on just nine first-period shots. Eventually, UMass would stretch out a huge lead in the shot department. After outshooting Union 16-6 in the second period, the Minutemen outshot their opponents 38-15 on the night.

“I thought everyone was kind of moving their feet, taking pucks to the net,” Chaffee said. “I thought we really simplified our game as a team and it kind of showed out on the ice.”

UMass showcased scoring depth with three players getting multi-point games. With the top two lines contributing most of the scoring, the third line got in the scoring action in the first period. With 10:05 left in the frame, Cal Kiefiuk tipped a shot from Zac Jones. The redirection was just enough to beat Union goaltender Darion Hanson to make it 2-0.

Filip Lindberg got the start in net following a strong showing by Matt Murray. While the sophomore goaltender faced just 15 shots, he stopped all of them. Lindberg’s shutout marked the fifth of his career.

“He seemed a little more focused,” Carvel said. “He made a couple really big saves.”

In the second period, Bobby Trivigno, in an attempt to kill time on the penalty kill, played a puck back from the nuteral zone. With no defenseman home, Union was gifted a breakaway chance. Lindberg was up to the challenge, stopping the puck with his right pad.

“We made some really stupid puck decisions,” Carvel said. “[Lindberg] got left out to dry and he made some really big saves look easy.”

A major key to UMass’ success on a young defensive unit came down to controlling the puck and simply not giving the Dutchmen a chance to generate scoring chances.

Already missing Marc Del Gaizo, Ty Farmer exited the game in the second period with a bruise. Down to just five players on defense, the Minutemen kept the shutout alive.

“You’re a little concerned when you lose that one defenseman and you got to play five,” Carvel said. “Those five guys handled it well. It never felt like they were running out of gas which is always a concern.”

UMass was perfect once again on the penalty kill Saturday night. After killing off all five Union penalties, the Minutemen improved to 21-of-21 through four games so far on the season.

“We’ve made some changes to [the penalty kill] this year,” Carvel said. “Its been effective. I think the biggest part is we’re older. All the guys who are killing penalties here have been doing it for a while. A combination of experience, goaltending and a little more aggressive style — and a little luck too.”

After taking two from Union this weekend, UMass improves to 3-0 at home.

The Minutemen are home again next weekend with one game against American International on Friday.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.