AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass Hockey team headed into the holiday break with a shutout win over American International Friday night, 4-0. The Minutemen received goals from four different players, including a shorthanded goal from Justin Braun and a power play goal from Chris Davis. Matt Irwin added a goal and an assist for the home team. Paul Dainton got the start in goal for the Minutemen, making 17 saves. Dan Ramirez started in goal for the Yellow Jackets, making 32 saves in the loss. The Minutemen will be off until they travel to Hanover, N.H. to participate in the Dartmouth Ledyard National Bank Classic. UMass will faceoff against Bemidji State on December 28 at 4 PM.
UMass improves to 8-6-1 overall heading into the Christmas break, while American International falls to 4-13-0 overall. With the win, UMass head coach Don “Toot” Cahoon became the all-time winningest coach in program history with his 121st career victory. Last weekend he earned his 300th win overall as a head coach. Cahoon is now 301-325-65 in 21 years as a head coach and 121-147-29 in eight years as the UMass bench boss. He passed UMass Hall Of Fame Head Coach Jack Canniff who had 120 wins at UMass for the record.
The Minutemen outshot AIC 36-18 for the game, with 16 shots coming in the third period. UMass was 1-for-4 on the power play, snapping a previous skid dating back to November 25 against Vermont. The Yellow Jackets were 0-for-3 on the man-advantage. UMass also dominated in the faceoff department, winning 47 draws to AIC's 24.
The Minutemen got off to a fast start in the first period, scoring just 26 seconds into the frame to give UMass a 1-0 lead early. After James Marcou nearly put the puck home off a deek, the puck squirted out to Irwin, who let a shot go from the point. The puck then found its way through traffic and past Ramirez for the score.
Even though the Minutemen maintained puck possession for a majority of the period, the Yellow Jackets weathered the UMass attack following the goal by keeping the Minutemen to the perimeter and forcing shots from the blue line. AIC was able to throw six shots on Dainton, but did not have any significant scoring chances.
The Minutemen had several chances to extend their lead during the second period as they were awarded two power plays during the frame. But Ramirez and the AIC penalty killing unit kept UMass off the board. It wasn't until Braun scored his first career short handed goal with 1:29 remaining in the period that the Minutemen got their insurance goal. After Cory Quirk skated into the Yellow Jacket zone and threw the puck on goal, Braun crashed the net and buried the rebound for his third goal of the season.
AIC had some chances to score during the stanza as well by generating nine shots on goal, but Dainton turned them all away. The Yellow Jackets were also awarded two power plays during the second period, but Dainton steered away all three AIC shots during the man advantage.
UMass scored twice in the third period, including a power play goal from Davis 4:10 into the frame. After a flurry of shots on Ramirez, Davis was able to find the loose puck and bang it home to give the Minutemen the 3-0 lead. T.J. Syner netted his second goal of the season just two minutes later when he tipped a Topher Bevis shot past Ramirez for the score. Casey Wellman also assisted on the goal.
With four minutes to play in regulation, sophomore netminder Matt Gedman replaced Dainton for his first collegiate appearance in goal. Gedman made one save between the pipes.