The Takeaway: UMass takes a 6-3 road victory over Northeastern

Posted by: Jill Saftel

BOSTON – After taking a 1-0 victory on the road against Massachusetts, the Huskies fell at home in a 6-3 routing at the hands of the Minutemen.

Kevin Roy struck on the first power play chance for the Huskies, beating UMass goaltender Kevin Boyle just 10 seconds into the two-minute advantage. The rest of the first period was all UMass when it came to scoring, with Rocco Carzo and K.J. Tiefenwerth each notching a goal to extinguish the Northeastern lead and make it a 2-1 Minutemen advantage heading into the second period.

Roy would strike again when he took a cross-ice pass from Mike McMurtry for his seventh goal of the season and the equalizer. The 2-2 score was short-lived as the Minutemen’s first scorer Carzo beat Chris Rawlings on a pass from Steven Guzzo to make it 3-2 and give UMass back the upper hand.

Two third period UMass goals changed the tempo of the game and proved to be too much for Northeastern to recover from. First, Drew Ellement was boarded in the corner, but it resulted in no call and in the process Adam Phillips was able to steal the puck and beat Rawlings with a high shot to the top of the net. Joel Hanley put UMass on the scoreboard again within 90 seconds later to make it 5-2.

Vrolyk had a solo effort to cut the Northeastern deficit to 5-3, coming from the corner to sneak the puck under Boyle. But a late empty netter from Michael Pereira was all UMass needed to seal it and take one win from the home-and-home weekend against the Huskies.

With the win, UMass moves to 4-6-2 overall and 3-6-1 in Hockey East. Northeastern falls to 5-7-1 overall and 3-6-1 in conference play.

What I Saw

  • UMass controlled play throughout the first period, despite Northeastern getting the early jump from Roy’s power play goal. The Minutemen outplayed the Huskies in almost every aspect of play early on, with some heavy handed defense keeping a high energy Northeastern top two lines under control. But Northeastern broke out of their usually sluggish second period play with some dominating play in front of Boyle. About halfway through the second, they had a period of about 90 seconds of sustained pressure in the Minutemen’s zone. Their play was composed and intelligent, and a few minutes later it paid off with some perfect positioning from Roy to take a cross-ice feed from McMurtry. There might have been a big game going on in Boston over in Chestnut Hill, but these two teams certainly match up well for a fast paced, physical game. These are both teams that have potential if they could rack up some conference points.
  • The reason the Minutemen were able to score six goals on the same goaltender who shut them out just about 24 hours ago was the fact that they took their shots quickly and decisively. Head coach John Micheletto said the problem with the UMass offense Friday night was that they were holding onto the puck too long, and it was obvious they made a clear cut change to adjust to Rawlings for Saturday night.

What I Thought

  • Northeastern couldn’t rebound from UMass’ fourth goal of the night. The goal did come on a questionable call, or lack thereof, but the Huskies were completely unable to move past that and continue with a play-to-win mentality. Where anger over a goal they were clearly unhappy with should have turned into fuel, it was debilitating and ultimately cost them any chance at going 2-0 on the weekend.
  • UMass completely overhauled their play from Friday night’s shutout. They dominated in the first and third periods, putting pressure on Rawlings and stifling the Northeastern defense. The team also saw players step up when given the opportunity, with Tiefenwerth captilazing on his move from the fourth line to the second line.

What They Said

  • “I’m excited about the weekend. Through 120 minutes of hockey I thought our guys were really good. For the most part, who we are and what we do gets a little scrambled but we were able to reel it back in, I thought, the second period especially coming out in the third we did a much better job. I know we didn’t get the result we wanted last night, we did certainly tonight. Walking away from our last conference play before Christmas, I couldn’t be anything but excited about our overall play over the course of the weekend.” – UMass head coach John Micheletto
  • “I didn’t like our resolve there. It was 4-2 and we were obviously upset on the bench about how that fourth goal was scored. I just didn’t like how we responded after that. Regardless of what happens next, you’ve just got to go play the game. I didn’t like how we responded, and then when they scored the fifth goal I just didn’t like the way our style got to be too induvidual. When we scored the third goal you could see we got some life and the guys were excited on the bench, but then we got the penalty.” – Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan

What Else You Should Know

  • Northeastern will take the ice next Saturday at Mass.-Lowell in their one game of the weekend. UMass will host Colgate (7-7-2 overall, 3-4-1 ECAC) in a pair of non-conference games in Amherst.
  • The was the first road win of the season for UMass.
  • Northeastern participated in a “Teddy Bear Toss” for charity tonight, and the team sent a memo to the league about the event. When bears were tossed on the ice, Madigan said he saw the officials looked surprised, and it became clear they hadn’t been notified. He said they were alright with it, but had to give him a warning and an announcement was made that if anything was thrown on the ice following the official “toss” when Northeastern scored their first goal, the Huskies would receive a penalty. In the third period, another bear found its way onto the ice and the team was charged with delay of game with five minutes left in the game.

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