Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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

First line shakeup proves beneficial in UMass’ win over Vermont

All three top line players score in the win
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts hockey team was led to a 4-1 win over Vermont on Friday by its top line after head coach Greg Carvel decided to shake up his lines.

Michael Cameron slotted into the first line with Ryan Lautenbach and Lucas Mercuri, pushing Taylor Makar to the second line. The switch was easy for Cameron as he has played with Mercuri and Lautenbach before he came to UMass (6-2-1,2-1-1 Hockey East).

“We’ve known each other for like a long time now,” Cameron said. “Me and [Mercuri] used to play with each other when we were 16 and I played with [Lautenbach] in juniors so we have that chemistry. We communicated a lot on the bench tonight and I think we trusted each other a lot and it showed.”

The Minutemen came into the third period with just a one goal lead over the Catamounts (2-4-1,1-3-1 HEA), searching to widen the gap. With a Vermont defender on him, Lautenbach quickly passed the puck to Scott Morrow. The defender shot an across ice pass to Mercuri who deked the goaltender before netting a goal.

Mercuri’s goal put UMass up 2-0 and helped build needed momentum in the third period.

The junior is on pace to pass his point total of 14 points in the 2022-23 just a quarter way through the season. Mercuri currently has nine points in nine games with two goals and seven assists.

“It’s going good so far and it’s awesome we got the three points tonight, it was a really big win,” Mercuri said.

Later in the third period at the three-minute mark, Cameron grabbed the puck at the blue line with no Catamounts in front of him. As two Vermont players skated behind him on a breakaway, Cameron sent a wrist shot past goaltender Gabe Carriere.

Cameron’s speed has been a large upside to his game since stepping foot on the UMass campus as a freshman. On Friday, his speed alongside Lautenbach’s made for a fast line that tripped up Vermont throughout the game.

“Cameron, we have been waiting for his speed to be a factor like it was last year and tonight it was a big factor,” Carvel said.

Cameron has typically been on a line with Kenny Connors and Cole O’Hara but the week before the Vermont series, O’Hara was replaced with Jack Musa. Cameron, Connors and Musa put up points on the line but Carvel wanted to shake the lines up even more.

“Just trying to move guys around and give them some new life and change things up,” Carvel said. “Most of the guys it’s been helpful, Cameron being one of them.”

Before the third period, Lautenbach also added to the scoresheet to start the first line’s tear in the game. The junior skated down the ice and passed to Mercuri who did not have the puck on his stick for long. With a quick pass to Lautenbach, he tapped the puck in to give the Minutemen the first lead of the game.

Mercuri and Camera had a goal and an assist for two points each while Lautenbach had a goal and two assists. Carvel praised them as the game changing factor in the win.

“I thought Mercuri’s line was the line where those three guys really stood out,” Carvel said. “Quiet night for everyone else, really.”

The top line will look to build off the win in the second game of the series against Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 11. Puck drop is set for 6 p.m.

“[Friday’s] win was a big confidence builder,” Cameron said. “We’ve gone into third periods with one goal leads before and they haven’t gone the way we wanted them to. For us to bear down tonight and be able to finish it out and get the three points, it’s huge just for momentum.”

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

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