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 takes down Minnesota State on the road, 6-3

Ryan Lautenbach scores two in victory
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts hockey team took down No. 19 Minnesota State on the road on Friday night by a score of 6-3. Led by a strong offensive performance from Ryan Lautenbach who potted two goals in the second period, the Minutemen (3-1) have now defeated two ranked opponents to start the season.

Lucas Mercuri was the beneficiary of a misplay from a Minnesota State (2-2) defender in the UMass zone as the puck jumped over his stick leading to a fast break opportunity for the junior. Lautenbach jumped into the play with Mercuri, as the two streaked down the ice on a 2-on-1.

Mercuri waited for the defender to commit to his side of the ice before sliding a pass to Lautenbach for an easy tap in.

Mercuri added his first goal of the season in the third period when he deflected a Cole O’Hara slap pass to make the score 5-3.

The Minutemen closed the door in the third period, a trend that is a welcome sight for head coach Greg Carvel.

“This is a tough place to play, it was the kind of game I expected, real proud of our group,” Carvel said. “We got out to an early lead; they pushed back and third period we pulled away. A really good sign the last two games, the third periods have been our best.”

Jack Musa continued to be one of the bright spots in the UMass lineup, keeping his spot as the points leader with a goal and an assist. The freshman is now at two points per game through the first four games with two goals and six assists.

Musa extended the lead to 2-0 for the Minutemen in the first period when he one-timed a Scott Morrow pass in the slot. Morrow made a slick through the legs move to elude a Minnesota State defender before feeding Musa with a backhand pass.

Aydar Suniev scored his first goal as a Minuteman on Friday night when he opened the scoring in the first period. Just over six minutes into the game, Suniev slapped in a rebound off of an Aaron Bohlinger point shot. Not a typical goal the freshman scores,  but it got the Minutemen off on the right foot after a fast and physical start to the game.

Penalties played a big factor in the game as three of UMass’ six goals came on special teams, two on the power play and one shorthanded.

“I like the fact that we didn’t give up any goals [on the penalty kill],” Carvel said. “Kenny Connors was Herculean on the 5-on-3 and that could’ve changed the whole game if they score early. Special teams were a big factor.”

“We’ve got to get closer to playing a full 60 minutes,” Carvel said. “I thought in the second period we bent, but I give the guys credit we still came out ahead. A lot of positives, but we’ve still got a long way to go.”

After a convincing win over Michigan in the back half of last weekends series, Friday night’s win is a sign that the season is moving in the right direction as the Minutemen have now defeated another ranked team.

The Minutemen will have another test against the Mavericks Saturday, Oct. 21 with puck drop set for 7 p.m.

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

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