BOSTON - The UMass Minutemen got their first win of the season Saturday afternoon when they defeated No. 5 North Dakota 3-2 in the Ice Breaker Invitational at Agganis Arena. The line of Cory Quirk, Alex Berry and James Marcou combined for seven points, with Marcou scoring twice and Berry adding assists on all three goals. Dan Meyers got the start in goal for the second straight night, making a career-high 40 saves. UMass (1-1-0) will have next weekend off before traveling to Rensselaer on October 21. The Minutemen went 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Fighting Sioux went 1-for-7. North Dakota (0-2-0) outshot UMass 42-16, including a 19-4 advantage during the third period.
The Minutemen outchanced the Fighting Sioux throughout the first period, throwing seven shots on North Dakota goaltender Aaron Walski. After being held scoreless through two periods on Friday, UMass wasted no time in taking an early 1-0 lead on Saturday. Just four minutes into the period, Cory Quirk battled in the corner for a loose puck. Quirk took control and tossed a pass to Bevis at the point who rifled a shot past Walski for the score. Alex Berry also assisted on the goal.
North Dakota responded near the midway mark in the period when Ryan Martens scored his first goal of the season. After receiving a pass from Matt Watkins, Martens held the puck in front of the net, forcing Meyers to the ice. Martens then deeked and backhanded the puck past the UMass netminder for the goal.
After Massachusetts was awarded its second power play of the night, the Minutemen went to work to regain its one goal advantage. UMass did just that on Marcou's first goal of the season when he one timed a pass from Justin Braun on the doorstep. After playing catch with Berry at the point, Braun threaded a pass through the North Dakota defense to Marcou, who fired the puck past Walski.
Both the Minutemen and the Fighting Sioux traded chances during the second period, but it was UMass that came away with the lone goal of the stanza to take a 3-1 lead heading into intermission. Massachusetts killed off three penalties during the middle frame, as Meyers made several big stops to keep UMass in the lead. The UMass defense also kept the Fighting Sioux at bay by minimizing the quality scoring chances of North Dakota.
When Quirk and Berry created a scoring chance and drew a penalty, the UMass power play set out to capture an insurance goal. The Minutemen took a two-goal lead with six minutes to play in the period when Marcou notched his second goal of the night. After taking a pass from Berry, Quirk attempted to fire a shot on net. The shot was blocked, but the rebound popped right back to Quirk. He shot again, and Marcou redirected the puck past Walski for the goal.
The Fighting Sioux carried the play in the final period, outshooting the Minutemen 19-4 in the frame. When UMass took a penalty with 14:34 to play, the North Dakota power play cut UMass' lead to one. After Chay Genoway took a pass from Ryan Duncan, he fired a shot from the point. The puck was redirected by Chris VandeVelde and past Meyers for the score. Meyers was huge in goal during the third stanza, making several big stops to keep UMass in the lead.
With 1:24 to play, North Dakota called timeout and pulled its goalie for a 6-on-5 advantage. UMass made two critical clears, while Meyers came up huge in the home stretch to preserve the win.