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

Two goal third period lifts UMass over UConn, 2-0

Minutemen win third road game in a row
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2024)

STORRS, Conn. — The Massachusetts hockey teams’ third period spark gave it a 2-0 win over the University of Connecticut on Friday night. The win marks three road victories in a row for the Minutemen against Hockey East opponents.

“In Hockey East that’s not easy to do,” head coach Greg Carvel said about wins on the road. “I feel like once again, we deserved to win the game. I’m really happy with the way we played.”

Three minutes into the third period, UMass (15-7-3, 8-5-2 HEA) and UConn (12-14-2, 7-10-1 HEA) were knotted at 0-0 but the Dans Locmelis broke through to give the Minutemen their first lead of the game. Samuli Niinisaari passed to Scott Morrow at the point. The sophomore stick handled the puck from around the corner and sent a behind the back pass to Locmelis in front of the net. The Bruins prospect did not have the puck on his stick for long before sending it past Arsenii Sergeev, making it 1-0.

“Just saw the puck and shot it and saw some guys celebrating so I just joined them,” Locmelis said.

17 seconds after Locmelis gave UMass a lead, another freshman scored for the Minutemen. Jack Musa from the left side of the net shot a wrister past Seergeev to make the game 2-0 in a flash. Kenny Connors and Cole O’Hara grabbed the assists on the lamp lighter.

The first and second periods of the game featured a back-and-forth game, both teams ending with 20 shots in the first 40 minutes. Despite playing in one of the more physical games of the season, both teams had just one penalty.

The big hits hurt the Minutemen when freshman Aydar Suniev was hit, sending him hard to the ice. Suniev was blown up after receiving a drop pass entering the zone. The freshman quickly got up and skated easily back to the bench comfortably.

In the third period, Michael Cameron was sent into the boards from a big hit. Cameron skated to the bench in pain but came back into the game.

The Minutemen played trap defense for much of the game, eliminating chances of the Huskies entering the UMass zone. With the Minutemen shutting down easy entry into the neutral zone, the Huskies relied on big hits to challenge UMass’ defense.

“[UConn] did a good job picking us a part a little bit in the neutral zone so we tried to tighten it up at the end of the game,” Carvel said. “They didn’t create a lot through the neutral zone but they did have possession coming into our zone.”

The star of the night was goaltender Michael Hrabal with constant big saves in net to keep UConn off the board. The netminder made 36 saves and gave him an important shutout for the Minutemen. The freshman looked calm in net, putting up easy saves and not looking frazzled for the 60 minutes.

“The whole team played great, I think in the past month we really focused on defense,” Hrabal said. “It was a great game but I think we need to focus on tomorrow.”

A player that was hard to defend for UMass was Huskies forward Matthew Wood. He ended his night with eight shots on Hrabal. The sophomore swiftly moved around UMass defenders to drive to the net.

With 3:13 left in the game, UConn pulled its goaltender, giving it a one-man advantage for over three minutes. While the Huskies overwhelmed Hrabal with shots, he made side to side saves to cement a win for UMass.

The Minutemen will continue against the Huskies on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Mullins Center. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.

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

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