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 defeats Michigan with a six goal third period

The Minutemen bounce back from a night one loss
Kira Johnson
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts hockey team made a valiant effort in the third period to come back and snatch the 6-3 win against the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night. Coming out of two scoreless periods, the Minutemen (2-1) regrouped once they took the ice in the third.

After not being able to find offensive rhythm, suffering from turnovers and miscommunication, UMass stepped out of the locker room ready to triumph over Michigan.

Defenseman Ryan Ufko opened the floodgates for a six-point third period. On the first UMass power play in that period, the junior captain capitalized on the mayhem surrounding Michigan (2-2) goaltender Jake Barczewski. Following two attempts that were shut down by the Wolverines, Jack Musa and Liam Gorman found Ufko who was placed in front of the Michigan net. The defenseman put the puck behind Barczewski.

Soon after, Ufko’s partner on the first defensive pairing Owen Murray tied the score 2-2. From there, the Mullins Center crowd energy skyrocketed, as well as the momentum on the ice for the Minutemen.

“We fed off of [the crowd],” Murray said. “We just kind of rode the wave… the crowd just took it away once we got going.”

After defenseman Scott Morrow’s successful attempt to put UMass ahead on the next power play, Kenny Connors continued to extend this lead and leave Michigan in the dust.

The Minutemen’s fourth goal of the third period started with a grab from freshman forward Jack Musa, who ended his night with three assists. Sprinting with the puck down the right-hand side of the ice, Musa got the puck under control. Following his lead, Connors skated up center ice and grabbed the clean pass from the young forward, Connors snuck the puck past Barczewski’s shoulder and put the Minutemen up 4-2.

To top off the victory, the physical forward Lucas Vanroboys sunk in two empty-net goals as Michigan made its last-ditch efforts to shorten the UMass lead.

“Vanroboys has been such a pleasant surprise,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “He is our identity and that’s why we brought him in here. He’s a big, hard kid and he just goes out and competes so hard. We need that.”

Third period success, however, started with a first period shutout from freshman Michael Hrabal. Excluding his ice time in the exhibition game against Dartmouth, Hrabal found his first collegiate start on Saturday night.

The goaltender was tested early on, nearly three minutes into regulation. Even as the game became messy, with more chaos surrounding the net, Hrabal stepped up to the challenge with confidence and poise. At times, the true freshman slung out his entire body to protect the net and shoot the puck out near the neutral zone. Hrabal clocked out on Saturday night with 24 saves, 13 of these coming from the buzzing third period.

“[Hrabal] kept us in the game,” Morrow said. “He shut the door after the second goal… just seeing some of those incredible saves he made, especially in the third period our team totally built off that.”

With Michigan being down to the wire with defensemen, the Wolverines relied on the offense to control the game. Aside from T.J. Hughes taking his opportunity on the five-minute power play at the end of the third, Michigan only managed to catch Hrabal off guard twice in the second period.

Frank Nazar III saw a clear opening with a couple seconds to shoot the puck behind Hrabal’s left side. Roughly three minutes later, the flustered freshman goaltender could not stop the steam rolling Garret Schifsky who put the puck right above Hrabal’s helmet.

The penalty-plagued game, though, was out of both teams’ comfort zones. Out of the 15 penalties, two of these were game misconducts. Both UMass and Michigan suffered five minutes of five-on-four.

“We spent two out of six periods in the penalty box,” Michigan head coach Brandon Naurato said of the weekend series. “[The penalties] caught up to us.”

UMass takes the road for its next series, facing off against Minnesota State. Puck drop on Friday, Oct. 20 is set for 8:07 p.m. in Mankato, Minnesota.

“I never lost hope,” Carvel said. “I like the identity of this team… We’re going in the right direction.”

Sydney Ciano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @SydneyCiano.

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