AMHERST, Mass. - It didn't take long for UMass' rookie class to make an impact on the scoresheet this season, as three were direct factors in the 3-2 win over visiting Sacred Heart on Friday night at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit to claim their first win of 2006- 07, thanks to goals by Matt Burto, Kevin Jarman and Martin Nolet.
"I think the game proved to be what we had hoped it would be," said Head Coach Don Cahoon. "It was a true test to get wits about us and get ready for the tough games ahead of us. We certainly weren't disappointed on that front. Sacred Heart is going to be a very good team in their league; they have some very good individual players and play well collectively. Our team played fairly well. I was happy with the way we played--especially in the second period."
The Minutemen played a spirited first, showcasing the talents of new lines and five freshmen. The Pioneers, who outshot UMass 10-5 in the opening stanza, got on the board first with a goal just 5:34 in, scored by Peter Ferraro. Dave Jarman rushed the puck up over the blueline and made the clean pass to Ferraro just above the circles. The shot beat freshman Dan Meyers for the 1-0 edge.
The Mass Attack responded just over a minute later with Matt Burto's first goal since his freshman season in 2004-05. Cory Quirk opened the charge, leaving a drop pass for Burto, who beat Jason Smith to tie it up. P.J. Fenton also assisted on the first goal of the season.
Charles Veilleux took an interference call at the 20-minute mark, affording the Minutemen their third power play of the game to open the second. Kevin Jarman made good on the opportunity, also scoring his first goal since early last year, assisted by Will Ortiz and Justin Braun. Braun held the puck behind the UMass net before sending it up to Ortiz. The rookie skated into the zone with Jarman and handed it off for the score on the near side.
While it appeared that UMass would struggle given the penalty troubles they encountered in the second (three in a six-minute span), they opened up a two- goal lead with Martin Nolet's first career tally at 15:15. Nolet took the puck on the four-on-four and circled behind the net, passing it to Matt Anderson near the blueline. Anderson returned it to the Quebec City, Quebec native between the circles who then beat Smith to make it a 3-1 game. Mike Kostka also assisted on the play.
The Pioneers' Nick Johnson did make it interesting midway through the third, bringing Sacred Heart to within one. Despite pulling their goalie with 31 seconds remaining, the Minutemen held on for their first victory of the very young 2006-07 season.
Overall, shots were 36-20 in favor of the home team. UMass was 1-7 on the power play, while the Pioneers were unsuccessful in all six chances with the extra man. Meyers made 18 saves in his collegiate debut, while his counterpart made 33 in the loss.
UMass returns to action on Saturday night when they host Clarkson. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center. For tickets, call 1-866 UMass TIX.