No. 8 Rutgers Defeats No. 3 UMass 12-9
May 3, 2003
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers jumped out to a 9-5 halftime lead, then held off a UMass rally to claim a 12-9 ECAC victory. The loss drops UMass' record to 12-2 overall and ended its five-game winning streak. Rutgers improved to 10-4 on the season. The No. 3-ranked Minutemen, however, should earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament when the pairings are announced Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on ESPNews.
The two teams played a fairly even first quarter. Rutgers took a 1-0 lead in the first minute of play after an EMO goal, but Jeff Zywicki (Napean, Ontario) tied the game at 1-1 at the 13:43 mark. Rutgers took a two-goal lead at 3-1 on goals by Nick Schmidt and John Flanagan, but UMass tied the game on goals by Chris Fiore (Freeport, N.Y.) and Zywicki 27 seconds apart. However, Delby Powless scored his second goal of the quarter with a minute to play to take a 4-3 lead after one quarter.
The Scarlet Knights went up 5-3 on a Leif Blomquist, but UMass responded on Zywicki's third goal of the afternoon to cut the margin to one again at 5-4. However, Rutgers scored the next four goals of the period, before Chris Doyle (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) scored at the 3:09 mark to cut the lead to 9-5 at halftime.
UMass solidified its defense early in the third quarter, and cut the lead to 9-6 at the 7:30 mark on Fiore's second goal of the game with an assist from Gene Tundo (Orchard Park, N.Y.). But Rutgers tallied the final two goals of the quarter, the last coming with one second left in the frame to take an 11-6 advantage into the final quarter.
Rutgers led 12-6 on a Jeff Duca goal with 12:30 to play, before UMass started
its rally. Kevin Leveille (Delmar, N.Y.) scored the first of his two
fourth-quarter goals at the 8:48 mark to cut the lead to 12-7. Fiore tallied
his second goal at 6:29 to trim the margin at 12-8. Leveille then scored goal
number two at 2:52 to make it 12-9. The Minutemen had several chances to cut
even more into the lead, but Rutgers freshman goalie, Greg Havalchak, turned
away several point-blank chances to hand UMass only its second loss of the
Rutgers outshot the Minutemen, 47-38 and went 2-of-3 on the extra-man opportunity chances. UMass dominated the face-off category, 15-9, but went only 14-of-18 on its clearing attempts. Bill Schell (Mahopac, N.Y.) turned aside 14 shots in the loss.
The Minutemen will now await word on a possible NCAA Tournament berth. The selection show is Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on ESPNews.
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