Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey drops third straight, 3-1 to UNH at home on Sunday

Minutemen are 0-4-1 in last five Hockey East matchups
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2023)

Things went from bad to worse in Amherst for the Massachusetts hockey team, as it lost its third straight game Sunday afternoon, 3-1 to New Hampshire. The Minutemen have now lost four straight Hockey East matchups and have fallen into ninth place in the conference.

UNH (7-16-1, 2-11-1 Hockey East) showed strong resolve multiple times Sunday afternoon, something that the No. 19 Minutemen (9-10-3, 3-8-1 HEA) couldn’t seem to find when they faced adversity. Despite getting on the board early in the second period and holding a lead for over six minutes in the frame, the Wildcats were dominated in all aspects of the game for the first period and a half.

However, after Michael Cameron evened the game up at one apiece almost halfway through the second period, UNH didn’t allow momentum to stay with the Minutemen. Although they didn’t score in the final 10 minutes of the second period, the Wildcats played their best hockey of the game in that span.

Heading into the third, the Wildcats momentum would carry over, as Kristaps Skrastins found the back of the net on a deflection from a Stiven Sardarian pass just over two minutes into the frame, giving UNH it’s second lead of the game.

Now facing a 2-1 deficit, the lack of resolve for the Minutemen was on full display as UNH played a stifling brand of hockey for the final 17-plus minutes, allowing very few quality opportunities for the Minutemen.

Alex Gagne added an empty netter with 1:25 left in the game to put the finishing touches on UNH’s second Hockey East win of the season.

“That’s our biggest win of the year,” UNH head coach Mike Souza said. “We haven’t had many, but that certainly felt good tonight. We faced some adversity this week, losing a couple key players for us. Happy, proud of our guys.”

After a dominant first period for the Minutemen where they were ultimately unable to get on the board, UNH came out in the second period with far more determination than they showed in the opening frame.

Cy LeClerc netted his eleventh goal of the season just over a minute into period two, giving the Wildcats an unexpected lead after they came out flat-footed in the first. LeClerc received a pass at the blue line and carried the puck without opposition until he reached the faceoff dot. He then made a smooth eagle turn causing Owen Murray to freeze, allowing him to take a clean backhand shot that beat Henry Graham over his shoulder.

Michael Cameron notched his seventh tally of the season seven and a half minutes into the second period, bringing the Minutemen back to even at the time. Cameron was set up nicely by Scott Morrow, as he carried the puck below the net and found his target in the slot, unopposed by UNH defenders. Cameron calmly one-timed the pass past Fessenden, lighting the Minuteman lamp for the first time on the afternoon.

With the only goal of the night for the Minutemen coming from freshman Michael Cameron, the concerning trend of a lack of scoring from upperclassmen continued.

“It’s the offense that’s missing is a big issue,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “Our freshman class scored consistently. Our senior class needs to give us more offensively. Our defensemen need to give us more offensively.”

The Minutemen will have the chance to improve their Hockey East standing on Friday when they face UConn for the first time this season. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

Matt Skillings can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @matt_skillings.

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