UMass (8-5-3, 5-4-1 Hockey East) tied Ferris State (4-11-3, 2-9-2 CCHA) 1-1 on Friday afternoon in the opening game of the Dodge Holiday Classic, but missed the chance to play in the championship game after losing the mandatory shootout 3-1. The Minutemen will face either Alabama-Huntsville or host Minnesota in Saturday's game. Due to television rights, the Golden Gophers will play at 7 p.m. regardless.
The Minutemen had to shake off some winter break cobwebs in the first half of the game, trailing Ferris State in shots 12-9 in the first, but neither team capitalized in the opening stanza and skated into the intermission scoreless.
FSU poured on additional pressure in the opening minutes of the second, with the Bulldogs striking first with a shorthanded goal at 14:07, scored by Matt Verdone. Despite Alex Spezia being in the box for holding, Ferris State was able to capitalize on a 2-on-1 opportunity late in the infraction as Verdone's shot from the top of the near faceoff circle beat Jon Quick just under the crossbar. The goal, assisted by Chris Zarb and Jim Jorgensen, was the first shorthander allowed by the Minutemen this season.
UMass responded just one minute and 26 seconds later with Mark Matheson's eighth of the season to tie it up at one apiece. Kevin Jarman kept the puck down low and fed it to his teammate between the faceoff circles, whose shot beat Mitch O'Keefe just over his left shoulder.
By the end of the second, the Minutemen took the 21-18 lead in shots after doubling up on the Bulldogs 12-6 on attempts in the period.
The third turned out to be another scoreless affair, with regulation shots standing at 26-24 in favor of UMass. Per tournament rules, the teams would skate in a five-minute sudden-victory overtime and if necessary, the game would be decided by a shootout. The shootout was necessary, and Head Coach Don Cahoon went with Cory Quirk, P.J. Fenton, Matt Burto and Alex Berry. Only Berry made good on the shot, while FSU had three go in to advance to the championship game on Saturday. For NCAA purposes, the game counts as a tie.
Overall, Ferris edged UMass in shots 29-28, while both teams were unsuccessful with the man-advantage. The Minutemen were 0-for-4; the Bulldogs went 0-for-3. Quick had a remarkable game, making 28 saves in the tie.