UMass club hockey falls 3-2 to Penn State in back-and-forth game

Minutemen give up game winning goal with 30 seconds left to play

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Kayla Wong / Daily Collegian

By Trevor Sheehan, Collegian Correspondent

On Saturday night, the Massachusetts club hockey team lost its sixth game of the season in heartbreaking fashion to Penn State.

With two minutes left, UMass needed to tie the game up, and that is exactly what senior Sean Prendergast did. Thomas Milne, the leading point scorer for Massachusetts, rushed the puck into the offensive zone, finding Prendergast on the left side of the ice. Skating with speed, Prendergast caught the puck and fired it right against the left post, tying the game 2-2 with only 1:30 remaining.

In a game that seemed as if it was going into overtime, Penn State (8-1) had a last-minute chance to change the score of the game. Sophomore forward Ryan Chu found the puck on his stick after a broken-up pass near their opposite blue line. Catching the puck on an awkward angle, Chu turned his hips to the net, scoring the final goal of the game above the left shoulder of Deilida.

In another chance to tie up the game, UMass (10-5-1) pulled their goalie and pressured Penn State in their zone. However, it wasn’t enough as Joshua Ferry stood strong in net, winning the game for Penn State 3-2.

The Minutemen started the game off strong, jumping to a 1-0 lead early. However, penalties and constant pressure from the Nittany Lions  made it a difficult game for the hockey team.

Casey Langely scored the first goal of the game 15 minutes into the opening period off a shot from the point by defenseman Christopher Roy. Langley’s linemate Christopher Spillane battled a couple Nittany Lions in the slot, catching the puck off the rebound. From there, Spillane turned away from the net, dishing the puck to a wide open Langely on the left side of the ice. On one knee, Langley rifled the puck before Penn State goalie Joshua Ferry could even react, giving UMass a one goal lead early in the first period.

Other than Langely’s goal, the momentum for the majority of the game was on the other side of the ice, but this didn’t prevent Minutemen goalie Ryan Dailida from having a quality game. Coming off a shutout against Northeastern University, Dailida saved 34 of 37 shots, keeping the Minutemen in the game.

Penalty killing became a huge aspect for the Minutemen, as they received six penalties in total, including a five-minute game misconduct. Midway through the third period, John McGrath laid a vicious open ice hit against Penn State forward Henry Salo, who was bringing the puck into Massachusetts territory. After a discussion between officials, McGrath was sent to the locker room, ending his night prematurely.

Although UMass spent a significant amount of the game on the penalty kill, it did not let up a single power play goal. A lot of that had to do with the multiple blocked shots provided by the Minutemen defensemen. Ellis Vish put his body on the line multiple times, blocking four shots in total throughout the game

Another significant factor of this game were turnovers. UMass struggled to break the puck out of its zone, and it cost them midway through the second period. With seven minutes left in the second, the

Minutemen failed to break the puck out of their zone, redirecting off the boards and landing onto the stick of Penn State captain Ryan Long. Right away, Long fired the puck towards the net on an off-speed shot, surprising Dailida and tying the game up 1-1.

It seemed like the game was going to be a defensive battle the rest of the way, but both teams woke up offensively during the third period. UMass had multiple opportunities to make the game 2-1, including a great opportunity on a three-on-one chance, yet Joshua Ferry shut the door keeping the score even.

In the third period the Minutemen finally seemed to gain momentum in their offensive zone. This didn’t seem to bother Penn State, as they found a way to respond. Defenseman Evan MacDonald received the puck on the right side of the point, shooting it instantly. The puck glided to the bottom right corner of the net, giving Penn State their first lead of the game.

Following the loss, UMass has a quick turnaround as the Minutemen travel to Worcester to face off against Holy Cross on Sunday.

Trevor Sheehan can be reached at [email protected]