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 club hockey finishes the regular season with a win over Liberty on senior night

Minutemen rally around veteran leaders in victory
Shilpa Sweth / Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts club hockey team had this game circled on its calendar since the beginning of the season. Playing against Liberty, the number one team in the Southeast region, was sure to be a tough matchup.

The game served as a celebration of all the seniors on the roster in their final home game, including a ceremony before the puck drop. The leaders of the team made this one count, and every goal was scored by one of the players in their final game.

The Minutemen (18-8) started the second period with an early power play and found a senior to start the scoring. Captain Scott Shorrock tricked the Liberty defense and proceeded to slap a backhand shot top shelf past the goaltender and take the lead.

The seniors wouldn’t stop there and wanted to continue the scoring midway through the third period. The next on the list was defenseman Zachary Reiser, who used his speed down the left boards to get an angle where he could snipe a shot over the glove of the goaltender.

The Flames (25-5) struggled to stay out of the penalty box throughout the game finishing with 10 penalties through the 60 minutes of game play.

The Minutemen took advantage of another of the penalties with Sean Prendergast burying the empty netter from the defensive zone to cap off the win with three seconds remaining in the game.

UMass had another senior leave a huge mark on this game from between the pipes. Thomas Haley finished the night with 28 saves, only conceding one goal from a loose puck being wrapped around the net in the second period.

“It’s great to see [Haley] kind of get back on track,” head coach Mike DeFazio said. “He played an almost perfect game in front of one of the best teams in the country.”

The defensive play of the Minutemen had a big impact on the game being low scoring as well. Captains Daniel O’Leary and John McGrath alongside forward Shawn Leslie were aggressive defensively.

The three seniors played a huge part in the killing of multiple penalties including a 5-on-3 in the third period while only being up by one goal to hold onto the lead.

The veteran leadership of UMass was dominant throughout the game. There was a lot to play for with many families in attendance and knowing it was their final game with the team.

“You can’t write a better story for the seniors,” DeFazio said. “It gives us confidence because those guys have beat every other top team in the country. Beating them means we can play for a National Championship next month.”

The Minutemen will look to build off this victory and take the positives with them to the playoffs. They will await their opponent and head to Conway Arena in New Hampshire on Friday, February 17 to begin the search for a national championship.

“We do what we’re supposed to do, and you know, we can go a long way,” DeFazio said.

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

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