Minutemen Fall In Heartbreaker, 1-0
Jan. 4, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - The No. 11-ranked University of Massachusetts hockey team, playing with a depleted offensive lineup, couldn't generate any offense for the second straight game and dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to UMass Lowell. The loss drops UMass' record to 9-6-5 overall and 5-4-2 in Hockey East.
The Minutemen had the game's first good opportunity just 1:30 into the game when UMass Lowell's Cleve Kinley was whistled for interference, giving UMass the first power play of the game. The Minutemen had a great chance when Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) came in alone, put a deke on causing the UML defender to fall. But UML goalie Chris Davidson gloved Pöck's wrister to keep the game scoreless. UMass had several good looks, but couldn't push the puck across. However, UMass kept attacking and went on its second power play of the contest, this time just four minutes into the frame. On the second opportunity, the Minutemen couldn't get set up in the River Hawks' zone, and UML easily killed off the second UMass chance. Halfway through the first period, the River Hawks went on their first power play of the game. On the power play, Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.) made two great saves on two Ben Walter one-timers from in close to keep the game scoreless. After the saves, the Minuteman defense tightened up and didn't allow the River Hawks to set up, killing off the UML attack. The Minutemen again kept up the pressure and Tim Vitek (Dresden, Ontario) had a breakaway that Davidson stopped from his side with nine minutes left in the first. UMass had another good look after Pöck poked the puck into the UMass zone and fed Nick Kuiper (Beaconsfield, Quebec) for a one-timer that Davidson gloved. The two teams went into the locker rooms tied at 0-0.
Winer continued his strong play with two saves on close shots by Rene Gauthier and Paul Falco with 3:30 gone by in the second period, for the only strong chances by either team in the first eight minutes of the frame. Craig MacDonald (Canton, Mass.) had UMass' lone solid chance nine minutes into the frame, when he took a Pöck feed and tried to stuf the puck into the net, but Davidson smothered the puck to keep the game scoreless. The River Hawks went on the period's first power play after the Minutemen were called for too-man-men-on-the-ice 11 minutes into the stanza. But again, the Minutemen's defense stood tall and killed off Lowell's chance. But the River Hawks kept up the offensive pressure and finally broke through Winer. Elias Godoy took a Gauthier pass, alone in front of the net, put a deke on, and flipped a shot past Winer into the back of the net at the 14:40 mark. Shortly after the goal, Pöck had another powerful slapshot that Davidson gloved to keep the Minutemen off the board.
The Minutemen created a flurry five minutes into the third period, but couldn't get good wood on the puck and Davidson turned aside two Minuteman shots to keep UMass at bay. The Minutemen continued the offensive onslaught, but Pöck was turned away and several other Minutemen had great looks. The best came from Vitek, who tipped a Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) pass that clanged off the right post with 10 minutes to play. Despite dominating the third period territorially and having several great opportunities, the Minutemen could not push a goal across. Head Coach Toot Cahoon pulled Winer with 1:22 to play in the contest, hoping to get the equalizer. Immediately after the face-off, UMass had two shots from in close that Davidson stopped.
The Minutemen will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 7, with a 7:00 p.m. face-off against Boston University at Walter Brown Arena in Boston. The game is a make-up game from Dec. 7, which was postponed due to a strong winter snowstorm. For ticket information, call the UMass ticket office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.