UMass Continues Hot Streak With 3-1 Win
Jan. 31, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts hockey team got goals from three different players and Gabe Winer turned aside 13 shots to lead the Minutemen to a 3-1 victory over Merrimack. With the win, the Minutemen swept the season series with Merrimack. The win moves UMass' record to 15-5-5 overall, and 11-3-2 in Hockey East, just two points behind league leader, Boston College. Merrimack drops to 9-16-3 overall and 4-11-2 in Hockey East.
UMass started the game aggressively, firing four shots on goal on Merrimack goalie Jim Healey in the game's first eight-and-a-half minutes. However, none of the shots were point-blank shots and Healey turned them all away. Meanwhile, the UMass defense held Merrimack without a shot in the game's first 13 minutes. UMass continued the pressure and went on the game's first power play, 12:37 into the first period. UMass appeared to strike first when Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) trickled a shot past the goal-line, but a Merrimack defender cleared the puck, before it could totally cross the line and the Minutemen were denied. On the same power-play chance, Merrimack's Brent Gough fired a shot at Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.) on a partial breakaway that richocheted off the right post to keep the game scoreless. UMass' defense continued to dominate as Merrimack's first shot on goal came at the 16:35. The Minutemen went on their second power-play opportunity of the game with just under three minutes to play in the frame, and again UMass had a great chance as the puck took a funny bounce around the boards into the front of the net, but Josh Hanson's (Medford, Mass.) shot was turned away by Healey, as was a Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) one-timer with 15 seconds left on the extra-man attack, and Merrimack killed off the UMass attack.
Merrimack started the second period on the power play after a UMass penalty with no time left on the clock in the first period. UMass killed the penalty with only one shot on goal allowed. Neither team mounted much of a threat in the first half of the second period. Merrimack did have a 3-on-1 breakaway, but Dominic Torretti (Ludlow, Mass.) made a great defensive play, breaking up the Warriors' rush to keep the game scoreless. UMass went on its third power play of the game 9:15 into the second frame, and this time the Minutemen capitalized at the 10:41 mark when Tim Vitek (Dresden, Ontario) lifted a rebound just under the crossbar. Hanson, who had the initial shot on the power play, and Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) also were credited with assists on Vitek's fourth tally of the year. However, shortly after UMass' tally, the Warriors tallied a power-play netter at the 12:42 mark when Steve Crusco redirected an Eric Pedersen slapshot to knot the score at 1-1. Also assisting on the power-play netter was Rob LaLonde. The Minutemen went on their fourth power play when Bryan Schmidt was called for hitting from behind, and again the Minutemen took advantage. Pöck slapped home a Mike Warner (Waltham, Mass.) rebound just inside the right post just eight seconds into the advantage for his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Degon also assisted on the goal at the 19:08 mark.
Merrimack started to tilt the ice, but Winer and the UMass defense held tight, as the sophomore netminder turned aside six shots in the period's first seven minutes, but Merrimack would go on the first power play of the period eight minutes into the frame. The Minutemen again killed off the Merrimack chance to keep the Warriors at bay. The kill sparked the Minutemen, which went on their fifth power play of the contest 10:30 into the period, but couldn't capitalize and the Warriors killed off the UMass attack. Again, Merrimack went on the power play, this time 13 minutes into the third period. Again the Minutemen penalty-kill unit stood up to the task and killed off the attack, limiting the Warriors to one shot on goal. The Minutemen then iced the game away when Stephen Jacobs (Westminster, Mass.) tipped in a Degon slapshot with just 2:15 to play in the contest to give UMass a 3-1 advantage. Chris Capraro (Medford, Mass.) fed Degon on the play for the second assist on Jacobs' first netter of the season.
UMass will host New Hampshire at the Mullins Center on Friday night (Feb. 6) at 7:00 p.m., in a key Hockey East battle. The game will be broadcast as the Friday Night Game of the Week on NESN, and the first 1,000 fans in the door will receive mullet wigs, for "Mullet Night". For ticket information, call the UMass Ticket Office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.