Hanover, NH.- It was a tale of three different periods for UMass and Bemidji State. The first period was a struggle to find the puck by both teams but Bemidji State found their groove quicker than UMass and took a 2-0 lead at the intermission, on goals by Aaron Macleod at nine minutes, 17 seconds and a power-play goal by Brance Orban at 14:47. The second period was a much different story as UMass dominated the Beavers and were able to take a 3-2 lead, on goals by Michael Pereira, Darren Rowe and Adam Phillips.
The third was a relative stalemate as the Minutemen and Beavers traded goals to make it a 4-3 final in favor of UMass. UMass improves their record to 6-9-2 on the season, while Bemidji State falls to 5-9-3 overall. Both teams will continue in the Ledyard Bank Classic on Monday evening, UMass in the championship game and Bemidji in the consolation game.
What I Saw
- Both teams downright struggled in the first period to find the puck and control it. This was very indicative of the fact that both teams had not played in weeks. Bemidji was able to find their groove earlier and were able to carry the play for much of the middle section of the first period, thus they were able to escape a sloppy first period with a 2-0 lead over the Minutemen.
- Along with struggling to find the puck in the first period, UMass also struggled to cover the front of their net adequately most of the game and if not for Kevin Boyle the game could have been out of hand early. On one save Boyle came across the ice to rob Bemidji’s Jordan George on a 2 on 1. This is about as good of an opportunity that any team will get in College Hockey, as George had a wide open net that Kevin Boyle was able to get his glove on. Kevin Boyle was easily the story of the first period for the Minutemen. If not for his acrobatic saves in the first and second periods UMass would not have had a chance after the first.
- Bemidji State struggled in the second period to get anything going as they were outshot and outplayed for most of the period, to the tune of being outshot 18-5 in the Period. The Beavers were unable to control the speed of UMass, especially from the Minutemen defense.
What I Thought
- As fast as the Beavers got it going in the first period over a struggling UMass team, the Minutemen did them one better in the third period. The 18-5 shooting margin in UMass’ favor was seemingly indicative of the play as they used skill and speed to run over Bemidji in the second period. This may be the mantra of this Minutemen team, they have flashes of brilliance and domination but are unable to put it together for three periods. On this night, UMass was lucky to be trailing just 2-0 after one period and were able to pull out the win.
- Bemidji played a sloppy all around round game, especially in the second period. They struggled on the side walls and they struggled to possess the puck at times. This is not tell all about them though. In their last game, Bemidji was able to defeat a really good Denver team at home. Putting efforts together and in a row is something that has been difficult for them this season.
What They Said
UMass coach John Michelletto said,
“I felt the process was really good for us even early. We had opportunities. From the defensive standpoint in that opening stanza we made three mistakes and they wound up in the back of the net. Unfortunate when it happens that way but that sometimes how it works.”
“We stayed the course and dictated the pace in the second period. In the third period it got a bit choppy just because of all the penalty-killing we had to do but the guys overall did a great job staying focused and keeping our energy.”
UMass forward Brendan Gracel said,
“I felt we played solid throughout the whole game, maybe they outscored us in the first but I felt as though we had the upper-hand most of the game.”
“The PK in third period was huge. They got a 6 on 5 goal against us at the end, its tough but we battled back and were able to hold the lead.”
Bemdiji State Coach Tom Serratore said,
“We played a good first period and after that UMass beat us in every aspect of the game in the second and third periods. Obviously we gave up the early lead we had and that was tough.”
What Else You Should Know
UMass will return to action tomorrow night against an opponent yet to be named in the championship game of the Ledyard Bank Classic. The loss snaps a three game losing streak for the Minutemen.
Bemidji State will return to action tomorrow night against either Dartmouth or UNH. Bemidji has not won consecutive games yet this year and this trend continued on this night, as they won their last game against Denver on December 15th.