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

Defensemen spark offense in UMass’ win over Michigan

Three defensemen score in the win
Dylan Nguyen
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts hockey team’s third period included three defensemen scoring goals to lead the way to victory over the Michigan Wolverines.

Ryan Ufko opened up the scoring for the Minutemen (2-1) to give them some much needed momentum to start the third period. UMass was put on the power play when Michigan (2-2) was called for holding, as it looked to put up its first goal of the game.

As Liam Gorman and Jack Musa came crashing towards the net, Wolverines goaltender Jake Barczewski was left on his stomach. With the goaltender stuck on the ice, Gorman shot the puck, then Musa. Ufko caught Musa’s rebound and wristed the puck past Barczewski putting the Minutemen on the board.

After Ufko’s goal, UMass skated with more confidence with the energy of the crowd on its side.

Less than a minute later, Owen Murray, who had been playing well up until that point, also found the back of the net. Taylor Makar was hit along the boards but managed to pass the puck up to Ufko on the blue line. The captain found Murray on a D-to-D pass and the defenseman shot the puck in the corner of the net to tie the game up.

“It was big obviously for us,” Murray said. “Just the luck of the draw sometimes, you get the right bounces and the right plays. Obviously it’s pretty sweet when [defensemen] put work in all week together and get the results at the end of the weekend too.”

Defensemen continued to score when Scott Morrow netted his second goal in as many nights, despite some controversy over whether the puck actually went in.

Ufko continued his dominant game, passing to Morrow at the 20 second mark of the power play for the Minutemen. Morrow one-timed the puck under the bar but the puck quickly slipped out of the net, making the ref lift his hand to signal a no goal.

“I had no idea,” Morrow said. “I just smacked the puck as hard as I could and hoped it was in.”

Kenny Connors pointed at the net, convinced Morrow had given UMass its first lead of the game. After a video review almost three minutes later, the refs determined that the puck did in fact sneak under the crossbar, giving the Minutemen their first lead of the weekend. Ufko’s assist on the goal was his third point of the night

While the scoring stopped for the defensemen just over six minutes into the third period, defensemen continued to make an impact.

Ufko’s guidance on the ice was apparent for all 60 minutes as he continued to make important plays for UMass. Gavin Brindley, one of Michigan’s most dangerous players skated down the ice in the first period on the attack. Ufko stayed on the Michigan top line winger, sweeping the puck away and keeping pressure off of freshmen goaltender Michael Hrabal.

“First of all [Ufko is] an incredible leader,” Morrow said. “Him coming out there and having the start to the third period that he did was the reason why we won tonight.”

“He was incredibly positive on the bench. He kept the mood of the team in a state where we were confident we were going to win and when you see your captain and your leader go out there and have three points in the first five minutes of the third period, it shows what he’s made of.”

The captain was also one of the leaders on special teams, staying on the ice for most of the two minutes of both the power plays and penalty kills. He generated five shots, with most coming on special teams.

Murray also showed up on offense with five shots, shooting any chance he had. On UMass’ five-minute power play, Murray was one of the players who was generating the most dangerous chances. The sophomore most notably tried a wrist shot from the blue line but the shot sailed just high.

Morrow had a turnaround game after a slow start to the season against American International College. After turning over the puck on a big play in the game, head coach Greg Carvel emphasized Morrow’s mistakes in the game against the Yellow Jackets.

Now, the junior has bounced back, scoring two goals and an assist in UMass’ series against Michigan.

The Minutemen will look to build off the win against the Wolverines, taking on Minnesota State away on Friday, Oct. 20. Puck drop is set for 8:07 p.m.

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.

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