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 falls 2-1 to Vermont in overtime

Minutemen end season series with the Catamounts, dropping two of three matchups
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2023)

The No. 10 Massachusetts hockey team suffered its second loss in a row to the Vermont Catamounts Friday night, dropping the overtime contest 2-1. An impressive performance from goaltender Michael Hrabal wasn’t enough for the Minutemen (9-3-2, 4-2-2 Hockey East) to outlast the Catamounts (4-5-1, 3-3-1 HEA).

In the overtime period, UMass controlled possession for most of the first couple minutes before Vermont took over. Will Zapernick carried the puck down the right side of the offensive zone for the Catamounts, all the way around Hrabal’s net. He centered a pass out front to Ryan Miotto who made quick work of the opportunity, finding the back of the net to give his team the victory.

The goal surrendered by Hrabal put a tarnish on an otherwise solid showing in net for the freshman. With 27 saves on the night, the Catamounts struggled to get pucks past him as they had in the two teams’ previous matchup.

“[Hrabal] played fine, he gave us a chance to win,” head coach Greg Carvel said.

UMass got its offense going in the third period, with Jack Musa getting the team on the board. Elliott McDermott started the sequence off by gloving the puck down at the point in the offensive zone. He made a quick pass to Musa who played give-and-go with Dans Locmelis to get an opening near the left dot to light the lamp with a hard wrister.

The lone goal of the game for UMass came after two and a half periods of well-played offensive hockey for the most part. The team finished with 33 shots on Vermont goaltender Gabe Carriere, but the senior held strong keeping the Minutemen off the scoresheet.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Carvel said. “Just couldn’t put the puck in the net.”

UMass thought it got out to a lead in the second period, with Ryan Ufko carrying the puck near the blue line in the middle of the offensive zone. The junior defenseman threw a wobbly wrister toward the Catamounts’ goal and caught Carriere off guard. The goal was called back, but not for the reason most might think.

Roughly two minutes earlier in the period, Scott Morrow caught Vermont forward Simon Jellus reaching for a loose puck and laid a hit on him. The hit was reviewed for a major penalty for head contact after the Minutemen’s goal was scored due to a coach’s challenge from Vermont head coach Steve Wiedler.

The challenge was successful for the Catamounts, meaning that the UMass goal was taken off the board and Morrow was sent to the box for five minutes for a hit to the head.

The Vermont powerplay got a great opportunity around 90 seconds into the major penalty. Miotto held the puck on the left boards in the offensive zone before sending a pass to the right side of the ice toward Nick Ahern. The freshman forward was left wide open near the right faceoff dot and one-timed the puck into the back of the net.

“If we don’t take any penalties [Friday], I don’t know how many scoring chances [Vermont] gets,” Carvel said. “They only had I think two after two periods.”

The Minutemen couldn’t get anything else going against Vermont, ending the contest with just the one goal that came in the second half of the third period. With this being the conclusion of the season series between the Hockey Easy foes, Vermont comes out on top in the matchup 2-1 for the 2023 season.

UMass will look to get back to its winning ways heading into a two-game series against Alaska Anchorage. Puck drop for game one of the weekend at the Mullins Center is set for Friday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.

“I like the way we played,” Carvel said. “Vermont plays a good solid checking game. Low scoring game, but it was a solid road effort.”

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

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