Another overtime, a different ending.
After tying Colgate last Saturday, the men’s hockey team once again found itself in overtime, but this time the clock did not run out as the No. 9 Bulldogs (2–2–2, 1–1–2 ECAC Hockey) fell to No. 11 UMass Minutemen (8–2–0), 4–3, in another showdown of nationally ranked teams Thursday night at Ingalls Rink.
“[U]Mass was a great opponent for us, they’re quick and they forced us to make decisions quicker than we are accustomed to,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. His team only started to figure out its opponent late in the game, he added. “We didn’t deserve to win tonight.”
The Elis began the game in control of the puck, making the game’s first strike as forward Denny Kearney ’11 slapped a shot into the Minutemen’s net past out-of-position UMass goalie Dan Meyers 6:25 into the period. UMass, despite outshooting the Bulldogs 10 to seven in the first period, were unable to get any offense going and remained scoreless to finish the period.
The second period, however, was all about the Minutemen. 5:40 into the period, Michael Marcou put in the first goal of the game for UMass to bring the game to a tie 1–1. And just three minutes later, the Minutemen struck again.
A pair of penalties called against forward Mark Arcobello’10 and forward Broc Little ’11 gave UMass a two-man advantage and at 8:36 into the period, Casey Wellman was able to convert and give the Minutemen their first lead of the game.
The Bulldogs had three power plays during the period, but were unable to capitalize on any of them and headed into the final frame down a goal.
“That’s a big key in college hockey,” Kearney said of capitalizing on man-up situations. “It’s a great opportunity to score and our power play right now is not doing a great job so that’s one of our big focuses.”
But in the final period, the Bulldogs picked up the tempo. Six minutes into the period, forward Sean Backman ’10 scored a goal to keep the Elis in the game, taking advantage of a power play. Just a minute later, defenseman Tom Dignard ’10 launched the puck from near the left circle into the stick of Little, who then punched in the goal to put the Bulldogs up 3-2.
Against a speedy UMass offense, that lead would not last long. Less than three minutes later, the Minutemen’s T.J. Syner scored another goal, after racing down the ice on a 2-on-1 advantage, once again tying up the score and sending the game into sudden death overtime.
To begin overtime, the visitors nearly hooked a shot into the goal, but goaltender Nick Maricic ’13 made the save. But after some confusion at the goal as Maricic dropped his stick, UMass put the nail in the coffin as James Marcou scored a goal with 61 seconds remaining in the overtime period.
After the tie against Colgate last Saturday, last night’s loss was a blow to the Bulldogs’ momentum after the upset victory against then No. 3 Cornell last Friday. Kearney said that in both the Colgate game and the loss against UMass, the team came out flat when they need to start going from the moment the puck drops.
“To beat good teams in college hockey, you can’t have good starts, you need to have great starts,” Backman added. “We need to play the whole 60 minutes.”
The Elis travel to Providence, R.I., to face Brown on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.