What a Finish! Pöck Lifts UMass to Win
Jan. 5, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - Junior defenseman Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) tallied a hat trick, including the game-winner with 27 seconds left to give Massachusetts a 5-4 Hockey East victory over Providence on Sunday afternoon at the Mullins Center. The win moves UMass' record to 12-7-1 overall and 6-5-0 in the Hockey East. Providence, which had defeated UMass 2-1 earlier in the year, falls to 10-7-1 overall and 4-6-1 in the Hockey East.
Providence took an early 1-0 when Doug Wright scored his first goal of the year. Wright somehow poked in a rebound in a pile-up past goalie Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.) at the 7:51 mark. Peter Zingoni and Jon DiSalvatore assisted on the goal. The Minutemen then picked up the intensity, but Nolan Schaefer turned away eight Minutemen shots to keep UMass scoreless in the opening 20 minutes.
The Minutemen knotted the game at one early in the second period. Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) dumped the puck behind the net to Tim Turner (Saginaw, Mich.). Turner played the puck in front of the net to a wide-open Tim Vitek (Dresden, Ontario), who rifled a shot top shelf past Schaefer at the 1:13 mark. The goal was Vitek's second of the season, and Turner's assist pushed his scoring streak to a school-record 10 games. However, Providence regained the lead seven minutes later, when Devin Rask picked up a loose puck in front of the net and flipped in a backhanded shot past Winer's glove for a 2-1 cushion at the 7:37 mark.
But the Minutemen responded just moments later on their second power-play opportunity of the game. Pöck blasted a low shot from just inside the blue-line that skidded past Schaefer at the 13:15 mark to tie the game at 2-2. Chris Capraro (Medford, Mass.) and Turner assisted on Pöck's eighth goal of the season. Pöck was at it again just three minutes later, as he rocketed a shot from the same spot he scored moments earlier past Schaefer's glove for the Minutemen's second power-play goal of the period to give UMass a 3-2 lead at the 16:07 mark. Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) fed Pöck with the pass to notch his ninth assist of the year.
After Providence tied the game at 3-3 on a power-play netter by Stephen Wood at the 5:20 mark of the third period, UMass answered two minutes later. Michael Mullen (Pittsburgh, Pa.) fired a shot from the left slot that deflected off Schaefer's pads to Vitek, who blasted home the rebound for his second goal of the game. Peter Trovato (North Attleboro, Mass.) also assisted on the goal. Once again, the Friars came back and tied the game at 4-4 at the 14:34 mark when Cody Loughlean slipped it low past Winer.
The game appeared heading for overtime when UMass mounted one last offensive charge. Stephen Werner (Chevy Chase, Md.) dropped off a pass to Mauldin, who fired a shot wide of the net. The shot caromed off the boards to Pöck at the blue line. Pöck shoveled the puck to his forehand, and fired a shot that found its way through traffic past Schaefer glove-side that snuck just inside the right post at the 19:33 mark to give UMass the dramatic 5-4 victory. Pöck's three goals set a school record for most goals in a game by a defenseman. Mike Gaffney held the record with two, set on Nov. 16, 1996, against Merrimack. Pöck also set a school record for most goals in a season by a defenseman with 10, topping the nine set by Dean Stork in the 1998-99 season.
The Minutemen will stay in the friendly confines of the Mullins Center for their next game. Merrimack comes into town next Friday, Jan. 11, for a 7:00 p.m. Hockey East contest.