UMass continues win streak with 6-1 victory over Vermont

The Minutemen freshmen flash offense in win

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Kayla Wong/Daily Collegian (2022)

By Mike Maynard, Collegian Correspondent

For the fourth game in a row, the Massachusetts club hockey team added a win onto its record, showing out in a 6-1 victory over Vermont. Goals came frequently for the Minutemen (9-3) with another dominant effort offensively on the forecheck. Strong performances from first-year players propelled the team to the win.

The scoring for UMass came from different places and one of those was in the first period from defenseman Joey Leblanc who lit the lamp for the first time in his career.

Aggressive attacking led to Leblanc getting a breakaway in the neutral zone. He crossed the blue line and launched a low shot to start his career in goal scoring and give his team the lead to start the game

“You never expect the puck to go in,” Leblanc said. “I saw the jump, stepped up in the play. I had a clear shot. Everybody was saying that I was trying to aim that top shelf, but I definitely was putting that low on the ice, five hole. Feels good to put one in though and shake the rust off a little bit, especially being a freshman.”

The third period was eventful with UMass finding the back of the net four times within the 20-minute period. Forward Thomas Milne showed off his skills, scoring two of the late game goals.

The first of Milne’s goals came near the middle of the third during a 4-on-4 with Milne fighting for the puck all by himself deep in the offensive zone. Hustle and a steal resulted in the open opportunity to stuff it in 5-hole past the goaltender.

His second of the night was with less than a minute left in the game. A power move allowed the forward to get to the front of the net again and make the lead five for the Minutemen.

A relentless forecheck led to UMass putting up multiple goals on the board. Getting the puck in deep was a point of emphasis for the team with most of its goals coming after dumping the puck in the offensive zone.

“In between periods first and second we told the guys get the puck deep and work [Vermont’s defense],” head coach Mike DeFazio said. “We were having success down in the O-zone down below the goal line. That’s I think really what turned everything in the second period and then carried over into the third.”

The Minutemen ran with what their coach told them, leading to 45 shots on goal by the end of the game. The pressure created on Vermont helped to keep the puck away from its goaltender as well, allowing 26 shots.

Goaltender Ryan Dailida made his first start with UMass and allowed one puck past him in his debut. He made acrobatic saves on breakaways and led his team to the victory.

[Dailida] played very well,” DeFazio said. “He was playing the puck, which was nice. He was very aware of what was going on. I think he played very well. Very happy with that and excited for the next three and a half years having him here.”

The Minutemen will look to stay hot on the road against a tough opponent who bested them in their last matchup in Keene State College on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m.

Mike Maynard can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @mike_maynard_.