#13/11 Notre Dame Skates Past UMass Hockey, 5-3
Dec. 6, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The UMass hockey team out-shot #13/11 Notre Dame, 39-32, but was unable to recover from a 2-0 first period deficit, suffering a 5-3 setback on Friday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena. Following the loss, the Minutemen are 3-11-2 overall, 1-7-2 in Hockey East play, while the Fighting Irish improve to 10-6-1, 3-3-1 in league action.
Freshmen provided five of UMass' nine points in the contest, including Brandon Wahlin's first collegiate goal and two-point nights from Steven Iacobellis (1g, 1a) and freshman Ray Pigozzi (2a). Fellow newcomer sophomore Ben Gallacher added an assist, as well. Senior Branden Gracel scored his sixth of the season and fourth on the power play, matching Iacobellis for the team lead in both categories, while senior Conor Sheary recorded his squad-best 11th point with his ninth assist of the season.
Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead early in the first as the Fighting Irish were awarded a penalty shot just 3:47 into the contest. Jeff Costello converted to put Notre Dame on top, the first penalty shot goal UMass had allowed since Jan. 17, 2003, vs. New Hampshire.
The Irish then increased their lead to 2-0 at the 7:32 mark when T.J. Tynan won the puck behind the net and connected with Sam Herr streaking down the slot.
The Minutemen cut their deficit in half 9:05 into the stanza, capitalizing on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. From down low, Pigozzi sent a pass up to senior Joel Hanley at the point. Hanley found Iacobellis alone at the back post for the tap in goal.
Notre Dame pushed its advantage back to two at the 13:34 mark of the second. After Mike Busillo was sent off for roughing, Andy Ryan's slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle found its way past netminder Steve Mastalerz for the Irish's second power play tally of the night. Robbie Russo and Mario Lucia earned assists on the goal.
Just before the period expired, though, UMass climbed back to within one of Notre Dame, 3-2. Gracel won the faceoff back to Gallacher at the point and Gallacher sent the puck back down low to Sheary. Sheary's centering pass set up a one-timer by Gracel with 4.3 seconds remaining in the frame.
A pair of power-play goals by Mario Lucia helped the Fighting Irish pull away in the third as he found the back of the net 6:14 and 16:54 into the stanza, respectively.
Wahlin added UMass' third at the 18:40 mark amidst a scramble in front from Pigozzi and Iacobellis to bring the score to 5-3, but the Minutemen were unable to complete the comeback.
UMass finished the night 2-for-8 on the power play while Notre Dame was 3-for-6. The Minutemen won 38-of-65 faceoffs (58.5%) on the evening, paced by Gracel's 14-for-25 performance.
Mastalerz made 27 saves in net for UMass and Steven Summerhays logged 36 stops for the Irish.
The two squads will meet again tomorrow evening, Dec. 7, in a 6:35 p.m. contest that will be televised on NBC Sports Network.
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