UMass Beats Sacred Heart 2-1
Dec. 11, 2004
AMHERST, Mass. - The Massachusetts hockey team will head into the holiday break on a high note thanks to Saturday night's nonconference win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers. With the 2-1 victory, the Minutemen climb to 8-10-1 overall and remain at 4-5-1 in Hockey East. UMass' rookies were the stars of the game, accounting for both goals and all three assists.
"It was important for us to get something going," said UMass Head Coach Don Cahoon. "We needed to head in a positive direction going into break and it was important for us to get a `W' under our belts. We knew we needed to generate more offense, and we did that successfully tonight."
However, it was the Pioneers that set the tone of the game early, quickly getting on the board just 22 seconds into the contest. William Billinghurst beat the UMass defense and cut in on goaltender Gabe Winer, slipping the puck between the post and Winer's skate for the 1-0 edge. Sacred Heart built on that momentum, quickly putting up four shots in the opening four minutes.
The Minutemen found their groove after a Sacred Heart penalty at 5:16, scoring just as the power play expired when Matt Burto corralled a rebound and lifted the puck past Kevin LaPointe. The rookie's third goal of the season--scored at 7:22--was assisted by classmates David Leaderer and P.J. Fenton.
"That freshman line (Fenton-Dan Gordon-Burto) has great vision and all three are very unselfish players," said Cahoon. "I would bet you'll be seeing a lot of those three together in the next four years."
With the game tied at one, the teams had the opportunity to skate 4-on-4 after matching penalties were called for hitting after the whistle. The Pioneers' Peter Giatrelis was then penalized to give the Minutemen the 4-on-3 advantage for 29 seconds. Back to 5-on-4, Fenton scored the go-ahead goal from between the circles, with linemate Burto adding an assist on the power play tally for his second point of the game.
At the break, Massachusetts held a 14-5 edge in shots.
The teams were scoreless in the second and third, despite a two-man advantage for Sacred Heart in the middle stanza. The Minutemen successfully killed off all three Pioneer power play opportunities in the game, going 1-6 themselves.
Despite pulling its goalie with only eight seconds left in regulation, UMass held on for the win--its first in three games.
Winer made 20 saves in his sixth win of the season. His counterpart made 34 saves.
The Minutemen, who are 7-2-2 at the Mullins Center this season, will return home to play Princeton and Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 29 and 30. Game time is set for 7 p.m. Eastern both nights.