Ryan Lautenbach making his mark at UMass

Freshman records first collegiate goal on Friday against UMass Lowell

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Maya Geer / Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

Despite his season kicking off to a slow start, Ryan Lautenbach has proven himself and earned his spot on the Massachusetts hockey team, displaying his ability and high effort. In the series against UMass Lowell, Lautenbach scored his first collegiate goal and recorded an assist in Friday’s contest. He continued the success and was a crucial playmaker on Saturday.

“[Lautenbach] is one of the kids that’s coming along pretty quickly,” head coach Greg Carvel. “He’ll probably be in the lineup the rest of his career.”

Captain Bobby Trivigno charged down the ice, with Lautenbach right by his side and only one defender standing in their way. Trivigno sent the puck, with Lautenbach firing a quick slap shot and finding the back of the net.

 

“I think it came down to my line mates,” Lautenbach said. “Both make great passes and good plays, and I was happy to bury it.”

It was on the second goal of the night on Friday that Lautenbach would get the assist after fellow freshman Scott Morrow found the back of the net in the second period. This was Lautenbach’s second assist of the year and Morrow’s fifth goal showing impressive skill by the younger members of the team.

With the game tied 4-4 after regulation and the No. 15 River Hawk’s (8-2-3, 6-1-1 Hockey East) coming away with the shootout win on Friday, the No. 14 Minutemen (7-4-2, 5-2-2 HEA) stepped onto their home ice determined. Lautenbach was at the forefront, battling in the offensive end. He never gave up on the pucks, chasing them down and used physicality to further challenge the defenders.

“He’s very similar to [Anthony Del Gaizo] in that he doesn’t try to be flashy,” Carvel said. “He’s just a hard-working kid. He’s got some good ability. He’s fearless.”

In the second period on Saturday, Ryan Ufko was sent to the penalty box and Lautenbach was on the ice for the penalty kill. He made a diving block, attempting to send the puck out of the zone, but moments later UMass Lowell scored, halving the Minutemen’s lead.

His best scoring opportunity came with under 10 minutes remaining in the game getting the puck on the left side and attempting to bring it closer to the net. While Mercuri was wide open in front, Lautenbach had no opportunity to cross it over, with the River Hawk’s defenders quickly swarming him and able to clear the puck.

However, it was his efforts that helped solidify the win for the UMass, preventing UMass Lowell’s goaltender, Henry Welsch from leaving the net and providing the team with an extra forward. Lautenbach fought to keep the puck in the River Hawk’s end as the clock counted down to zero.

Having spent two seasons in the United States Hockey League, ranking 12th overall in scoring, Lautenbach is off to a bright start with the Minutemen. After several injuries affected the forwards, Lautenbach earned a spot on the first line alongside Trivigno and has stepped up. The Captain has allowed Lautenbach to showcase his full potential on the ice.

“He’s a great leader” Lautenbach said of what he has learned from playing alongside Trivigno. “He’s always talking to us. He’s pulling me and [Mercuri] to be better and he keeps pushing us every day so it’s really great.”

The Minutemen return to action on Wednesday night at 7 p.m against Merrimack.

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @SophieeWellerr.