UMass Skates To 5-5 Tie With Vermont
Dec. 28, 2003
BURLINGTON, Vt. - The No. 9-ranked University of Massachusetts hockey team jumped out to a 4-2 lead, but needed a late third-period goal to tie Vermont, 5-5, in the final game of the Sheraton / Banknorth Classic. With the tie, UMass improves to 9-4-5 overall and Vermont improves to 2-11-3. The tie ends UMass' non-conference slate of the schedule.
UMass had the game's first good scoring opportunity as Greg Mauldin (Holliston, Mass.) fed Marvin Degon (Millbury, Mass.) alone in front of the net, but Vermont goaltender Travis Russell made a pad save on a low shot to keep the game scoreless. Shortly after the save, Vermont went on the game's first power play and capitalized when Jaime Sifers lifted a shot on a partial breakaway past UMass goalie Gabe Winer (Stoughton, Mass.) just 4:58 into the game. UMass got the game's next power play, just over 10 minutes into the stanza, and UMass knotted the game at 1-1 after a good shift. Mauldin took a beautiful feed from Thomas Pöck (Klagenfurst, Austria) and wristed a shot that hit the crossbar, but bounced in after getting caught up in traffic for his fifth goal of the season at the 12:13 mark. John Toffey (Barnstable, Mass.) also assisted on the netter. UMass killed off a Vermont power play near the end of the first period and the two squads skated out the rest of the first period at 1-1.
UMass nearly went up 2-1 off a Sean Regan (South Boston, Mass.) shot that was deflected by a Vermont defenseman that trickled just wide of the goal six minutes into the second frame. Vermont went on its third power play shortly after Regan's shot, and it was the Minuteman that capitalized. James Solon (Acton, Mass.) picked off an errant Vermont pass, dropped it back to Pöck, who wristed a slapshot past Russell's left shoulder for a 2-1 advantage. However, on the same Catamount power play, Oriel McHugh found a seam through traffic and slid a shot to the far left post just 22 seconds after UMass' goal to knot the score at two. Vermont again went on the power play shortly after the score, but the Minutemen killed it easily to keep the game knotted at 2-2. After matching minors, UMass went up 3-2 on a 2-on-2 break when Degon streaked down the right side and Mauldin fed him behind the defense with a perfect pass that Degon deposited into the back of the net at the 13:59 mark., with another assist to Pöck.. The Minutemen continued the offensive pressure and, still skating 4-on-4, Pöck scored his second goal of the night with a laser from just inside the blue-line that beat Russell stick-side for his 12th goal of the season. Craig MacDonald (Canton, Mass.) and Degon assisted on the goal at the 14:56 mark. Vermont clawed back when Dan Owens batted the puck out of midair into the back of the net at the 15:59 mark. After a lenghthy discussion, the goal stood and Vermont was back to within one at 4-3.
Just 26 seconds into the third period, Vermont tied the game after Winer couldn't corral a rebound and Baron Becker slapped the puck into the back of the net to tie the game at 4-4. UMass had the game's next best opportunity with only its second power-play chance of the game just under three minutes into the third frame. After several good looks that Russell stoned and a Vermont breakaway that hit the far post, the Catamounts killed the UMass power play. UMass kept up the pressure and Russell made two big saves, one on a Pöck one-timer from his side, that kept the contest tied. Vermont then took the lead after two great saves by Winer. Ben Driver lifted a shot past Winer, who was on his side, on the third try by the Catamounts at the 10:57 mark for a 5-4 advantage. With the Catamounts playing a defensive style, the Minutemen used a great shift to even the score at 5-5. MacDonald played a backhanded pass to Peter Trovato (North Attleboro, Mass.), who one-timed a shot five-hole at the 16:28 mark to tie the game. Jeff Lang (Westwood, Mass.) also assisted on the goal. The Minutemen survived some scary moments in the final minute, including a goal that was disallowed after the final regulation buzzer sounded, and UMass was heading into overtime for the fifth time in eight games.
In the overtime session, Vermont had the best chance, but Winer made a good save on a partial breakaway. Garrett Summerfield (Endicott, N.Y.) also had a good backhanded look for the Minutemen, and Tim Vitek (Dresden, Onjtario) had a strong slapshot from the left side, but Russell made two glove saves to keep the game tied and the two teams skated to a 5-5 tie. Thomas Pöck was named to the All-Tournament Team and was named the Tournament MVP after scoring seven points on the weekend with two goals and five assists.
The Minutemen begin the second half of Hockey East play with a 2:00 p.m. matchup at UMass Lowell on Jan. 3. For ticket information, call the UMass ticket office at 1-866-UMASS-TIX.