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NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. - The No. 19 UMass hockey team scored two goals in the final five minutes of regulation to sweep the Niagara Purple Eagles 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Dwyer Arena. Casey Wellman netted the game-winner and added two assists, while James Marcou and Will Ortiz each tallied multi-point games. Dan Meyers got the start for the Minutemen (6-1-0) in his first game of the season, making 25 saves. The Mass Attack will return home next weekend for two home games against New Hampshire at the Mullins Center. Both games are slated for 7 p.m.
With only two penalties called between the teams, neither squad could take advantage of its power play, each going 0-for-1. UMass' lone penalty, called with eight minutes to play in regulation, resulted in a strong kill that led to the game-winning goal. The Minutemen outshot Niagara 40-27, and improve to 6-0-0 against the Purple Eagles all-time.
Both teams played a clean and fast paced first period, with UMass outshooting the Purple Eagles 10-4. The shot total was the lowest Massachusetts has allowed in any period all season. Niagara netted the lone goal of the frame, however, seven minutes into the stanza.
While the Purple Eagles (0-7-1) put pressure on Meyers and the UMass defense, Chris Moran took the puck and skated behind the net. Moran then threw a quick pass out to Egor Mironov in the slot, who fired a quick one-timer over Meyers' shoulder for his second goal of the season The Minutemen compiled some scoring chances of their own as the period wore on, but Avramenko was there to turn away each UMass scoring bid.
UMass got itself on the board in the second period, scoring two goals in 50 seconds, but Niagara responded with a goal of its own midway through the period to make it 2-2 heading into intermission. Michael Marcou netted his second goal of the season four minutes into the frame off a pass from Wellman. After the Minutemen won a faceoff in their defensive zone, James Marcou skated into the neutral zone and saucered a pass across to Wellman. Wellman then sped down the left side into the Niagara zone and sent the puck back to Michael Marcou at the point. He let a low shot go that found its way through Avramenko for the score.
Ortiz gave Massachusetts its first lead of the game on his second goal of the year. After receiving a pass from Michael Lecomte, Ortiz teed off a low slap shot from the right side that beat Avramenko five-hole. Following the goal, Chris Noonan replaced Avramenko in net.
The Purple Eagles responded with 10 minutes to play in the period on Ryan Olidis' fourth goal of the season. Moran collected the puck behind Meyers and skated out to the bottom of the right faceoff dot before sending a pass to Olidis in the slot. The pass caught Meyers out of position, and Olidis was able to bury the puck into the open net.
The Minutemen continued to apply pressure throughout the period, scoring two goals in the final five minutes of play. Wellman notched his fourth goal of the season with five minutes to play off a shot from the point. Justin Braun let a shot go from the blue line that was stopped in front, but Wellman gathered the rebound and backhanded the puck past Noonan for the eventual game-winner
James Marcou added an insurance goal with just over two minutes to play in regulation for his third of the year. Marcou and Wellman went in on a two-on-one that was originally stopped by a Niagara defender, but Danny Hobbs trailed the play and threw the loose puck on goal, where Marcou swiftly collected the rebound and tucked it by Noonan to close out the scoring.