Ice Hockey

Comeback Falls Short For UMass Hockey At UVM, 3-2

Senior Kevin Czepiel won 13 of 14 faceoffs in the loss at Vermont on Saturday.

Senior Kevin Czepiel won 13 of 14 faceoffs in the loss at Vermont on Saturday.

Jan. 26, 2013

Box Score

BURLINGTON, Vt. - The UMass hockey team pulled within a goal of Vermont with the extra skater on late in the third period, but was unable to overcome a 0-3 start, dropping the series finale, 3-2, on Saturday night at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Following the setback, the Minutemen fall to 9-12-2 overall, 6-9-1 in Hockey East games, while the Catamounts improve to 7-13-4 on the year 4-9-4 in conference play.

Juniors Michael Pereira and Branden Gracel provided the goals for UMass. Gracel's marked his team-leading 11th of the season to increase his point total to a squad-best 22 on the year. Junior Conor Allen logged his ninth assist, tying his career best now with 14 points in 23 games. Senior Darren Rowe recorded a helper as well, his seventh point in the past five contests.

Vermont struck for the first tally of the night just 3:23 into the first period. Kyle Reynolds' shot from the top of the faceoff circle tucked inside the near post with Nick Bruneteau and Matt White picking up assists on the play.

The Catamounts then expanded their advantage to 2-0 at the 9:38 mark in the opening stanza. Seconds after Vermont's first power play chance of the night came to an end, Reynolds scored on an odd-man rush off a feed from H.T. Lenz and Nick Luukko.

In the second period the Catamounts pushed the lead to 3-0 with a power-play goal by Jacob Fallon at the 14:39 mark that snapped a string of 16 straight successful penalty kills for UMass. Robert Polesello and Michael Paliotta earned assists on the play.

The Minutemen took the goal back, though, before the close of the frame. With the teams skating four-on-four, junior Joel Hanley and Allen connected with Pereira who snapped one past Brody Hoffman from the slot 18:43 into the second.



With 1:21 left in regulation and netminder Steve Mastalerz on the bench for the extra attacker, Gracel put home a rebound off a shot from Rowe to close the gap to 3-2.

However, UMass was unable to come up with the equalizer despite out-shooting Vermont, 38-25 on the evening and winning 40 of 64 faceoffs in the contest, led by senior Kevin Czepiel's 13 wins in 14 tries over the dots. Mastalerz finished with 22 saves while Hoffman stopped 36 for the Catamounts.

UMass will be back in action next Friday, Feb. 1, when the squad will play host to Boston University in the Mullins Center at 7:00 p.m.

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