AMHERST, Mass. - The first line of Tylor Spink, Tyson Spink and Kyle Baun accounted for Colgate’s first four goals to carry the Raiders to a convincing, 6-4 win over Massachusetts Friday night at the Mullins Center.
Tylor Spink and Baun each found the back of the net twice while Tyson Spink notched three assists. Three of the all-freshmen line’s goals came on the power play, which also included fellow freshman Mike Borkowski at the point.
Colgate goaltender Spencer Finney had some inconsistencies between the pipe, but his 31 saves were enough to secure the win. UMass goalie Kevin Boyle had little support in front of him at crucial moments, and the six goals he allowed revealed that as he could only come up with 19 saves on the night.
What I Saw
- That Raiders first line really dominated play on Friday, and it was especially clear in the first 40 minutes of play as Baun and the Spink twins were responsible for all four Colgate goals in that span, three of which were on the power play. The second power play goal came five minutes, 50 seconds into the second period with the Raiders leading 2-1. Tyson Spink fed Baun out in front of the net, and some hesitation by the Minutemen defense left Tylor Spink wide open on the other side. Baun passed it over to Tylor Spink from the slot, who quickly wristed home the goal to make it 3-1 Colgate. Later in the second period, it happened all over again. This time, it was Tyson Spink who gave to his brother an empty net in front of Boyle with a pass from the slot following more poor defensive zone play by UMass to give the Raiders a commanding, 4-1 lead heading into the third period.
- The Minutemen finally got back to their style of play in the third period, outshooting Colgate 14-5, but turnovers and defensive breakdowns led to a pair of easy breakaway opportunities to eventually put the game out of reach. UMass took advantage of a pair of early man advantage opportunities as both Joel Hanley and Adam Phillips scored in the first 5:37 of the final frame to cut the Raiders’ lead to 4-3. Hanley’s came from just inside the blue line on a snapshot, and Phillips just appeared to be in the right place at the right time as the puck ended up on his stick in the left circle, where he proceeded to push one past Finney. But as the Minutemen started to work their way back into the game, they got back into the problem of gift-wrapping goals for Colgate. Jeremy Price scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway at 7:52, beating Boyle top-shelf. And once UMass found itself back within a goal after Conor Allen scored at 12:41, a turnover in the offensive zone set up Darcy Murphy for the backbreaker.
- It’s safe to say that it was a tough night on the penalty kill for both squads as five goals in all were scored on the man advantage. The Raiders’ power play was especially effective in the first two periods, starting with the first goal of the game as Baun redirected a shot from the blue line by Spiro Goulakos at 11:12 in the first. Colgate capitalized on numerous mistakes and soft play by UMass in the defensive zone, which is what created those opportunities on the man advantage. Players were having little trouble crashing the net, leaving the slot wide open for the Raiders to make passes and move the puck with ease. The Minutemen’s power play goals seemed to have come simply from an increased aggressiveness with the puck. UMass was hesitant with the puck on a number of occasions in the first two periods, giving the Colgate defense plenty of time to react and make stops, and the difference was apparent in that third period once pucks started to go in.
What I Thought
- Based on the performance of the power play, and that Colgate top line in particular, it’s pretty clear that these freshmen are totally in sync despite being a group of first-year players. The Spink twins, Baun and Borkowski all played on the same power play unit for the Cornwall Colts of the CCHL and the familiarity with each other’s game showed on Friday. The group basically scored the same goal on UMass twice in the second period when Tylor Spink was left wide open in front of the net. Colgate coach Don Vaughan said after the game that he told them to basically run the same power play they did in juniors and the team would be all set. It looks as if his idea worked because the group could do no wrong on the man advantage.
- Friday night’s output was arguably the Minutemen’s worst defensive performance of the season, and that’s including their 8-2 loss to UMass Lowell Nov. 18. UMass has made its physicality on the defensive end and the ability to block shots and limit decent scoring chances the backbone of its team for much of the season, but the Minutemen simply got away from that on Friday. They gift-wrapped a handful of goals for the Raiders with soft play defensively and uncharacteristic mistakes. It looked as if they were spending more time standing around and watching the play develop instead of being the aggressors, which left Colgate with plenty of easy scoring chances. The penalty kill can’t be left off the hook either. Just two weeks ago UMass had killed 86 percent of its penalties, but have now allowed a total of four power play goals in the last two games.
- One thing UMass can feel positive about in Friday’s loss is the continuously strong efforts of defenseman Joel Hanley. The junior registered his third multi-point game in the last four with a goal and assist in the loss, and this was coming off a game in which he was plus-five in a 6-3 win at Northeastern last Saturday. Hanley is really emerging as a top-tier offensive defenseman, and has become the staple of that Minutemen power play. His nine points on three goals and six assists is currently tops among all UMass defensemen.
What They Said
“I thought it was a good road win for us. I think clearly when you’re on the road you have to take advantage of your opportunities and I thought our power play did that tonight. Our freshman line was pretty good early, and we hung on at the end.” -Colgate coach Don Vaughan.
“It’s difficult to think that you can give goals away through 40 minutes and all of a sudden be the team you’re supposed to be in the last 20, and have that be a successful formula. I’m pretty sure our guys are aware that that’s not the way we want to play.” -UMass coach John Micheletto.
What They Didn’t Say
Micheletto wouldn’t say whether or not he will go with Boyle again or opt for backup Jeff Teglia after a rocky performance by the sophomore. In his lone start this season, Teglia lasted just over 16 minutes in the first period before being pulled after allowing three goals.
What Else You Should Know
The two teams go back at it again at the Mullins Center Saturday night for a 7 p.m. puck drop.