Amherst, Mass. - With the eighth and final Hockey East playoff spot on the line, Massachusetts used a three-goal third period to top Maine 5-2.
Joel Hanley led the Minutemen with three assists, two of which came in the third period on goals by Zack LaRue and Conor Sheary. Kevin Czepiel finished it with an empty-netter with 44 seconds remaining in the game.
Down 2-0 after the first period, the Black Bears scored twice in less than two minutes to even things up. First Jake Rutt put home a power play goal on a wrist shot 5 minutes, 36 seconds into the second period. Then Bill Norman put home the equalizer at 7:16.
Steve Mastalerz got the win in goal for UMass, making 23 saves. Martin Ouellette started for Maine coming off a big night on Friday, but wasn’t the same player between the pipes, making 22 saves in a losing effort.
What I Saw
- This was not the same Martin Ouellette that was in goal for Maine the night before. The junior netminder single-handedly beat the Minutemen with his 30-save shutout performance that included a pair of stops on breakaway chances and one of the saves of the year on Friday. However, Ouellette found himself in trouble early when Adam Phillips buried home a rebound off a Rocco Carzo shot 5 minutes, 51 seconds into the first period. Branden Gracel added to that less than two minutes later when he scored on a scorching snapper from the left wing that beat Ouellette glove-side high. After settling down and making some more key saves to keep the game tied after the second period, Ouellette struggled again in the third. First one a goal by Zack LaRue after failing to cover Gracel’s initial shot, Then another on a one-timer from Hanley to Sheary. Ouellette was clearly not playing with the same confidence out there that he had on Friday, much of that can be credited to the fact that the Minutemen got to him early. (more…)