Minutemen Take Game One, 6-3
March 11, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts hockey team got goals from five different players and Tim Warner (Waltham, Mass.), making his first start of the season, turned aside 39 shots to lead the Minutemen to a 6-3 victory in the opening game of the Hockey East Quarterfinals, held at the Mullins Center. UMass, which takes a 1-0 lead in the series, improves to 17-11-6 overall.
UMass went on the game's first power play just 1:50 into the first period, when UMass Lowell's Bobby Robins was called for interference. The Minutemen appeared to score the game's first goal just 2:38 when Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) unleashed a shot that wobbled through traffic, and that Kevin Jarman (Aurora, Ontario) tipped past River Hawks' goalie Chris Davidson. However, the goal was waved off, due to a high stick infraction. The River Hawks killed the power play and had a good chance themselves, but Warner turned aside a point-blank shorthanded attempt by Danny O'Brien. UMass Lowell struck first when Andrew Martin fed Jason Tejchma on a breakaway attempt. Tejchma got behind the defense, and slid a shot past Warner's stick at the 5:09 mark for a 1-0 advantage. The Minutemen tied it up after a Lowell turnover near center-ice that Dusty Demianiuk (Franklin, Mass.) picked up and shoveled to a streaking Tim Vitek (Dresden, Ontario). Vitek put a move on Davidson, and roofed a backhanded shot at the 10:54 mark to knot the score at 1-1. Massachusetts took the lead at 16:37, when Pöck brought the puck up the length of the ice, fed a pass to Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) along the right slot, in which Mauldin fired past Davidson's glove to the far post after the junior goalie came out to cut off the angle. The goal was Mauldin's 12th of the season and gave the Minutemen a 2-1 lead. Demianiuk also recorded his second assist of the night on the goal.
UMass Lowell had the second period's first good opportunity, going on its first power play of the contest, just one minute into the frame. The Minutemen, however, killed off the play and used the end of the power play to score their third goal of the game. Pöck picked up a puck in the offensive zone, flipped a pass towards a streaking Stephen Werner (Chevy Chase, Md.), who was just busting out of the penalty box. Werner put several dekes on Davidson, and slid a backhanded shot through Davidson's five-hole for his seventh goal of the season. UMass continued the pressure and persistence until Mike Warner (Waltham, Mass.) finally poked in a loose puck in the crease after several tries at the 5:48 mark for a 4-1 advantage. Werner and Jarman were credited with assists. The Minutemen used the power play to notch their fifth goal. Jarman and Pöck executed a perfect 2-on-1 break that Pöck deposited into the back of the net after Jarman fed the senior defenseman at the last moment to catch Davidson out of position. The goal, Pöck's 15th of the season, came at the 11:03 mark. The Minutemen offense tallied five goals on its first 11 shots of the game. Meanwhile, Warner was the story of the game, stopping 19 shots in the first two periods.
UMass Lowell had the period's first power play, but the Minutemen killed off the chance easily, allowing no shots on goal on the River Hawks' man advantage. Neither team mounted much of an offensive threat, as both goalies stood tall in the third period. UMass Lowell cut into the lead at the 11:30 mark when Ben Walter scored from a tough angle that just trickled through Warner's pads and across the goal-line at the 11:30 mark. But the Minutemen slowed any River Hawks' rally when Pöck faked a shot, fed Warner along the right doorstop, who tipped in a shot between the pipe and Davidson's stick at the 13:11 mark. The goal was Warner's second of the game and was also assisted by Nick Kuiper (Beaconsfield, Quebec), as well as Pöck. The assist was Pöck's third of the evening, which tied a UMass defenseman school record. UML again cut into the lead when Robins batted in a shot out of mid-air past a sprawling Warner at the 16:35 mark to cut the lead 6-3. Tejchma and Martin also assisted on the goal. Lowell had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:42 with just over two minutes to play, and it turned into a 6-on-3 when Head Coach Blaise McDonald decided to pull Davidson. However, UMass killed the chance and held on for the opening-game victory.
UMass will host the River Hawks in game two on Friday, March 12, at the Mullins Center, with the Minutemen holding a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. For ticket information, call the UMass Ticket Office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.