UMass Claims Defensive Struggle, 2-0
Nov. 7, 2003
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - The No. 12 University of Massachusetts hockey team won its second straight Hockey East game with a physical 2-0 victory over Merrimack on Friday night. The win moves UMass' record to 6-1-0 overall and 3-1-0 in Hockey East. The victory was UMass' sixth road win in a row.
After a slow start to the first period, the Warriors went on the first power play of the contest, just four minutes into the game. However, Merrimack failed to get set up in the zone and had no shots on goal on the first extra-man attacker.Shortly after killing the Warriors' power play, UMass went on its first power-play chance of the game. Chris Capraro (Medford, Mass.) had a good look from the left slot, but Merrimack goalie Casey Guenther made the save, and James Solon (Acton, Mass.) had a great chance from in close, but Guenther made the save from his side and the Warriors killed off UMass' first scoring opportunity. The Minutemen went on the next power play just over 10 minutes into the game. And again the Warriors stopped the UMass attack, as Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurt, Austria) recorded the only UMass shot on the extra-man advantage. After a Mark Matheson (Calgary, Alberta) slapshot was stopped by Guenther, UMass went on its third power play of the game, but couldn't get set up in the Merrimack zone and went 0-for-3 in the first period. However, the UMass defense was the story of the first period, holding the Warriors to no shots on goal and killing off the Warriors' only power-play chance.
UMass went on its fourth power play of the evening after a Merrimack bench minor six minutes into the second period, but again the Warriors dodged the bullet and kept the game scoreless. Merrimack went on its second power play of the night, and it almost cost them. Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) streaked in on Guenther after a Merrimack turnover in its own zone. After making the initial save, Guenther couldn't corral the bouncing puck and Solon's rebound attempt into an open net sailed wide and the game remained scoreless. On the same power play, Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.) made two solid saves from in close to stop the first serious Merrimack threat. UMass again had a great opportunity when John Toffey (Barnstable, Mass.) slapped two shots from right in front that Guenther again turned away. UMass then took a 1-0 lead, while skating four-on-four when Pöck fired a low slapshot to the right post that beat Guenther gloveside at the 13:24 mark. Mauldin and Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) assisted on the goal, Pöck's sixth of the season.
The Minutemen dodged a big bullet when six minutes into the third period, the Warriors' Tim Reidy sailed a shot from right in front of Winer after the sophomore goalie was caught scrambling after a Merrimack flurry. However, Winer stood tall moments later as Merrimack fired two shots on him from the left doorstep to keep the Warriors at bay. Neither team mounted a serious threat in the first half of the third period as the two squads picked their chances cautiously. The Warriors went on a power play with just over five minutes left, but once again Winer and the Minuteman defense didn't allow the Warriors to get settled and killed off the extra-man attacker again. The Minutemen then withstood several minor Merrimack rushes and ran out the clock for a 2-0 and Pöck added an empty-netter at the 19:02 mark for a 2-0 triumph. UMass outshot Merrimack, 21-12, and Winer posted his first career shutout, stopping all 12 shots he saw.
The Minutemen will host Merrimack on Nov. 8 in the back-end game of the home-and-home series. Face-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. For ticket information, call the UMass ticket office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.