No. 8 UMass Ties No. 5 New Hampshire, 2-2
Dec. 11, 2003
AMHERST, Mass. - The No. 8-ranked University of Massachusetts hockey team tied for the third time in the last five games, this time to fifth-ranked New Hampshire, 2-2, before 4,341 fans at the Mullins Center. The tie improves UMass' record to 9-3-3 overall, including 5-2-2 in Hockey East. New Hampshire improves to 10-4-2 overall and 5-2-2 in Hockey East. With the pre-Holiday break portion of Hockey East play done for the Minutemen, UMass will enter the break in no worse than fourth place.
New Hampshire had the game's first good scoring opportunity as the Minutemen took a penalty just one minute into the game, but the Wildcats couldn't capitalize and UMass successfully killed the penalty. UMass had the game's next good opportunity as Nick Kuiper (Beaconsfield, Quebec) found himself alone in the slot. Kuiper slid a shot low that UNH goalie Mike Ayers kicked aside late, and the puck slid just wide of the left post. UMass continued the pressure, but Ayers was again up to the challenge, as Mike Warner (Waltham, Mass.) hit Kevin Jarman (Aurora, Ontario) behind the UNH defense. Jarman came in alone, but Ayers stoned him with a great glove save to keep the game scoreless with eight minutes gone by. New Hampshire went on its second power-play chance of the game and capitalized when Brian Yandle one-timed a shot just under the crossbar at the 12:11 mark with assists to Justin Aikins and Steve Saviano. UMass again kept up the pressure, as Thomas P?ck (Klagenfurt, Austria) and Jarman had good looks in the last minute, but couldn't push the puck across, and UNH led 1-0 after one period.
The Minutemen again nearly tied the game two minutes into the second period, as Obi Aduba (Medfield, Mass.) fired a low shot that snuck up on Ayers and nearly trickled into the net, but slid just wide of the right post. The Wildcats nearly went up 2-0 as Sean Collins came in a breakaway, but Winer stoned him with a beautiful save to keep the Minutemen within striking distance. The save seemed to jumpstart the Minutemen as Jarman, Sean Regan (South Boston, Mass.) and Kuiper nearly tied the game within minutes of the save. UMass continued the pressure and went on its first power play of the game six minutes into the frame. Matt Fetzer (Chicago, Ill.) had a one-timer on the power play that Ayers gobbled up, and the Minutemen had several more good looks but couldn't find the net, as UNH killed off UMass' first extra-man opportunity of the contest. UMass started buzzing and went on the second power-play of the period when Stephen Jacobs (Westminster, Mass.) drew a Matt Hoppe slashing penalty. However, unlike the previous extra-man chance, UMass couldn't get settled in the zone, and the Wildcats killed off the chance. UMass again had a glorious opportunity as Chris Capraro (Medford, Mass.) fed Jarman with a beautiful cross on a 2-on-1 break but Ayers made an outstanding save from his side to keep the Minutemen at bay. UMass would close the period on a power play and would capitalize when P?ck ripped a James Solon (Acton,Mass.) face-off from just outside the right circle into the top right corner past Ayers to tie the game at 1-1. The goal, P?ck's 10th of the year, came at the 18:17 mark. However, UNH drew a penalty late in the period that would carry over to the start of the third period.
UMass nearly added to the lead on the UNH power play when Ayers fell in the net, but made a great glove-save on a Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) slapshot after a great feed by Stephen Werner (Chevy Chase, Md.). After killing off the UNH power-play, the Minutemen took the lead when Degon fired a slapshot into Ayers' chest that trickled into the net for a 2-1 advantage 4:08 into the third period. Craig MacDonald (Canton, Mass.) fed Degon on the pass in the UMass defensive zone for his third assist of the year. Peter Trovato (North Attleboro, Mass.) also assisted on the goal. The Minutemen then settled into a defensive rhythm, not giving the Wildcats many offensive threats, while not producing many offensive chances themselves. However, New Hampshire would get one more strong opportunity with its fourth power play of the game 13 minutes into the third period. After three shots on goal and several excellent defensive plays, the Minutemen killed off their third power play of the game. However, after UMass had a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, New Hampshire tied the game on a Preston Callander goal at the 18:42 mark with an assist by Jacob MicFlikier to send the game into overtime. The Minutemen had the best opportunity in overtime as Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) had the puck in ftont of the net with Ayers out of position, but couldn't get a shot off and the two teams skated to a 2-2 tie.
The Minutemen will return to action for their final game before the Holiday break with a road game at Harvard on Dec. 13. Face-off is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge. For ticket information, call the UMass ticket office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.