DURHAM, N.H. – The game started at a frantic pace. Umass scored the game’s first goal at 1:28 of the first period. UNH responded with two goals of their own in the next 2:13 and Umass tied it up 11 minutes later. UNH used a demoralizing goal with six seconds remaining in the first to take the lead for good. From that point on UNH ran away from the Minutemen scoring three goals in 5:20 of the second period and won the game 7-3 on the backs of seven different goal scorers.
What I saw
-Umass used two different freshmen goalies in the game, in starter Steve Mastalerz and Kevin Boyle. Neither of which had much success solving UNH’s offensive prowess on the night, but they in most cases were not the blame. The Umass defense had a poor showing on the night with Wildcats being left open almost at will in front of the net for most of UNH’s seven goals. The young defense will surely improve as the season goes on.
-UNH responded well to an early goal by Umass at 1:28 of the first period by scoring two of their own in the next two minutes of the first period. The game was not perfect for New Hampshire, as the defense did show signs of weakness on the three Minutemen goals. Scoring seven goals is always a positive for a team that struggled early with scoring. The goals are seemingly coming in bunches right now for New Hampshire, whom are using a very balanced attack. Tonight seven different players scored goals for the Wildcats. Albeit not a perfect game, UNH proved their resilience to come back from an early setback to dominate large stretches of a game.
What they said
“Not a good night for the Minutemen at all,” said Umass coach Don Cahoon. “The big difference in the game was UNH’s poise and their ability to possess the puck. We had chances early to score some goals but we didn’t have the ability to finish those chances.”
Umile said, “Obviously I am pleased with the win but I was more pleased with the fact we had seven different scorers. We are playing some pretty good hockey. Their goaltending struggled but on any given night it’s going to be a different scorer… Our defense is getting better as we go along and more experience. We are making progress. Now we can talk about Maine, which is tomorrow it’s a huge game for us we always look forward to it.
What they didn’t say
Toot Cahoon mentioned the use of his goaltenders only briefly in his press conference. On the season the Minutemen have used three different starters. Two of which are freshmen and one of them, Steve Masterlerz got his first career start while the other, Kevin Boyle, saw action in the second period to be taken out in lieu of Masterlerz in the third. Is the three goalie system something that can work for the rest of the season or will the Minutemen find the right one as the season goes along? This question seems the furthest to be answered of all questions in the Umass locker room. It may be a while before we know any answer and it may be another game time decision for Cahoon as the Minutemen take on the Boston College Eagles on Saturday.
What else you should know
Umass travels back home on Friday night for a Saturday night contest against the tough Eagles of Boston College. The Minutemen and their young defense will have to grow from this game quickly to have any success against Boston College. The last time the two met Boston College beat Umass 4-2, but the Minutemen were in the game for long stretches of the game. It was a road game at BC. Look for the Minutemen to come out hard against the Eagles in response to tonight’s devastating loss.
UNH hosts its annual White out the Whit night on Saturday evening, when the University of Maine comes to town. Maine is coming off a 5-1 loss to Boston College on and will be looking for a response in one of college hockey’s biggest rivalry games. The game will be a preview of the much maligned “Frozen Fenway 2012” that takes place in early January.