Playoff Bound: UMass Bests Northeastern 4-2 To Earn Playoff Berth
Feb. 25, 2006
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts (13-18-1, 10-14-1 Hockey East) made it into the Hockey East playoffs on Saturday night with its 4-2 victory over Northeastern (3-22-7, 3-15-7 HEA). All four seniors honored prior to the opening faceoffs had points in the win, while Gabe Winer earned his 50th career 'W'.
While senior night was celebrated prior to the game, it was a UMass rookie that put the Minutemen on the board first. Alex Berry was credited with his first collegiate goal, assisted by P.J. Fenton just 1:34 into the first. Fenton took the puck up the near boards and took a shot on Adam Geragosian, with the rebound coming out to Berry for the score.
Massachusetts outshot Northeastern 14-5 in the first.
The Minutemen opened the second with 1:14 of a 5x3 power play. The roughing penalty to Dennis McCauley carried over from the first, while Andrew Lenard was called for obstruction-holding just 28 seconds in. While UMass didn't convert with the man-advantage, it did open up a two-goal lead just after the penalties expired.
Seniors Jamie Solon and Marvin Degon skated into the NU zone 2x2 before Degon made the pass to Solon at the bottom of the circles. Solon's shot beat Geragosian between the skate and the post for his seventh of the season. Degon's assist was his team-high 15th.
Stephen Werner got into the scoring action at 10:54, giving the Minutemen a three-goal cushion. Degon again assisted, taking a pass from P.J. Fenton before shooting from blueline. The rebound came out to Werner, who banked it home for his team-leading 12th goal of the year.
The Huskies' Yale Lewis brought his team back to within two at 19:44, assisted by Louis Liotti and Brian Deeth. NU scored on the delayed penalty, ending over 114 minutes of shutout hockey at the Mullins Center for Winer (dating back to Jan. 27).
Through two, UMass outshot the Huskies 24-10.
Northeastern made it interesting less than five minutes into the third, scoring at 4:03 to make it a 3-2 game. Bryan Esner was credited with the goal, assisted by Joe Santilli and Rob Rassey, scoring through traffic in front of the UMass net.
It was Fenton who regained the two-goal margin for the home team, scoring his second in as many games at 15:28. John Wessbecker and Cory Quirk were credited with assists, closing out the scoring for the contest.
Overall, shots were 36-30 in favor of the Minutemen. UMass was 1-for-9 on the power play, while the Huskies were 0-for-2. Gabe Winer made 12 saves in net in his final appearance between the pipes at the Mullins Center, earning his 50th career victory.
While Massachusetts earned a spot in the conference tourney, they can secure seventh place next weekend when they travel to Orono, Maine for a pair. Game time is set for 7 p.m. both nights. UMass Lowell is a single point behind its sister school and will face Vermont twice next weekend.
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