UMass eliminated from ACHA national tournament after 6-0 loss to Midland

Minutewomen’s 11 penalties prove to be the dagger on Friday

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Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

By Johnny Depin and Shanti Furtado

The Massachusetts women’s hockey team’s national tournament run ended on Friday. The No.7 Minutewomen (16-8) fell to No. 2 Midland University by a score of 6-0.

 After neck and neck action on both sides of the ice in the first minutes of play, Midland (19-6-1) struck first. With congestion at the net of Mary Honan, the UMass goaltender was able to save an initial shot on goal attempt from the Lady Warriors. On the rebound, Honan was unable to reposition in the paint before Midland’s Madison Miller slid the puck into an opening near the goalpost.

In the waning minutes of the first period, Midland expanded their lead. On a cross rush drive, the Lady Warriors set up a 2-on-1 play with Rylee Martin catching a cross pass from Allison Rakowski to fire a backdoor goal past Honan for her first goal of the 2021-22 season.

Despite a 2-0 hole on the scoreboard at the end of 20 minutes of play, the Minutewomen had their fair share of time in the attacking zone. Holly Russell and Katerina Nikolopoulos were among the players able to get looks on Midland’s netminder, Hannah Stone. However, the playmaking abilities and skillful puck possession of the Lady Warriors prevented UMass from being able to capitalize on net.

UMass’ scoring woes continued into the second period. For the majority of play, both teams went scoreless, even after two opportunities on the man advantage for Midland. As tensions increased, as did the Minutewomen’s time in the penalty box. Soon after UMass’ Brenna Cox received a minor penalty for checking, Holly Russell was called for two minutes on cross checking.

This 5-on-3 penalty kill for UMass proved insurmountable, Midland’s Maggie Marcotte receiving the puck on the back door to make the score 3-0 in their favor. Marcotte’s goal would be the lone of the period, but the action was far from being limited to this play. The Minutewomen received three more penalties in the second period alone, the constant pressure of Midland and discrepancies with officiating, frustrating the team.

The third period began with the Minutewomen on the defensive yet again: Nikolopoulos, Brianna O’Neill, and Olivia Jordan’s serving the remainder of their penalties in a full penalty box. With the Minutewomen at the 5-on-3 disadvantage, Midland took the opportunity to extend their lead to 4-0 off a shot from Allison Conybear.

Since three Minutewomen were serving penalties, the skaters remained 5v3 in favor of Midland. Just over a minute after the first goal of the third was scored, Midland added another from the stick of Jenna Grosdidier to make the score 5-0.  UMass would successfully kill the subsequent 5-on-4 penalty kill, but 7:30 into the third the Minutewomen would be called for their seventh penalty of the game. Less than 10 seconds later, Marcotte added her second goal to make the score 6-0; this holding until the end of the game.

UMass committed 11 penalties on the evening, something that spoke to both the frustration and the fatigue of the Minutewomen. Friday was their third game in three days and made them definite underdogs, regardless of seeding. Of UMass’ 11 penalties, Midland scored on four of the ensuing powerplays. 67 percent of the goals that the Lady Warriors scored came while the Minutewomen were shorthanded.

The Minutewomen’s goaltender for the postseason, Mary Honan, closes out her freshman year with three starts in the ACHA tournament. Having moved up from the backup position, Honan had a .922 save percentage, and three shutouts in six games coming into the tournament.

UMass finished 15-6 on the regular season, and 1-2 record in the postseason. In the tournament, the Minutewomen allowed 11 goals while scoring four of their own.

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @jdepin101.

Shanti Furtado can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @shantifurtado.