MASSACHUSETTS SKATES TO 4-4 TIE WITH MAINE, EARNS FINAL PLAYOFF SPOT
Sophomore forward Rocco Carzo posts goal and two assists for Minutemen
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass hockey team erased a three-goal first period deficit to battle to a 4-4 tie with No. 14 Maine on Senior Night at the Mullins Center. With the draw, the Minutemen clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the Hockey East Playoffs, and will travel to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College next weekend. Rocco Carzo had a goal and two assists for the Minutemen (6-21-6, 5-16-6 HEA), while Danny Hobbs added a goal and an assist. Paul Dainton was stellar in goal, making 32 saves to backstop the Mass Attack. Josh Van Dyk had three assists for the Black Bears (17-10-7, 14-8-5 HEA) and Dan Sullivan made 26 stops.
Maine held a slight 36-30 advantage in shots for the game, while the Minutemen improved their faceoff results from Friday's game with a 35-of-66 showing in the faceoff circle. Massachusetts only allotted the Black Bears one power play opportunity for the game; UMass was 0-for-4 on the man advantage.
Maine statistically dominated throughout the first period, outshooting the Minutemen 12-7, hitting three posts and burying three even strength goals in the opening 20 minutes. The Black Bears netted the game's first goal 3:32 into the contest when Gustav Nyquist hammered home his 17th goal of the season. Brian Flynn began the play with a pass down low to Josh Van Dyk, who then spotted Tanner House atop the crease, looking for a one-timer. Van Dyk and House connected for the scoring bid, which was turned aside by Dainton, but Nyquist was in position to bury the rebound for the score.
Flynn then picked up his 19th goal of the year seven minutes later off another feed from Van Dyk. Van Dyk possessed the puck along the right wall, before finding a seam to hit Flynn with a pass at the faceoff dot. Flynn quickly settled the puck before firing it over Dainton right shoulder for a 2-0 Maine lead. The Black Bears then went up three scores with 3:07 left in the frame as Will O'Neill was on the receiving end of a centering pass from Robby Dee for his fourth goal of the season. Dee skated down the right side and tried to thread a pass through the slot, but the puck redirected off a skate and right onto the stick of O'Neill, who deposited it in the back of the net before Dainton could recover.
The Minutemen outchanced the Black Bears during the second period, and netted a goal three minutes into the frame to cut the deficit to two. Rocco Carzo recorded his first goal of the season early in the stanza when he gloved down a clearing attempt by a Black Bear defender in the neutral zone, sped into the attacking zone and hammered a wrist shot past Sullivan to make it 3-1 Maine.
Massachusetts continued to create havoc in front of Sullivan's net, as the Minutemen generated multiple scoring chances following the Carzo goal. Michael Pereira nearly cut the Maine lead to one when Chase Langeraap sent a puck across the slot, but the puck bounced just over Pereira's stick. At the other end, Dainton turned away all eight Maine shots during the middle frame, highlighted by a huge glove save on House with 3:20 left in the period.
UMass continued on the comeback trail during the third period, scoring three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead with 2:04 left in regulation before the Black Bears tied it up to force overtime. Danny Hobbs scored his second goal of the weekend during the sixth minute of the frame following a flurry of chances on Sullivan. T.J. Syner fed the puck to Langeraap behind the net, who then made a nice pass out to Hobbs on the doorstep for the score through the legs of Sullivan.
Pereira knotted the score at three 18 seconds after the Hobbs tally with his team-leading 12th goal of the season on a shot that ricocheted off the post and behind Sullivan. The score remained the same for the next 11 minutes, until Adam Phillips gave the Mass Attack it's first lead of the weekend off a faceoff win in the UMass zone. Carzo won the draw, and skated the puck out of the zone for and into Maine territory. Hobbs then picked up the loose puck, spun around and found Phillips joining the rush to put the Minutemen up 4-3.
The lead was short lived, however, as the Black Bears tied the score once again 19 seconds later. Van Dyk took a pass from Mike Cornell, and then threaded a pass to Dee at the backdoor, and buried it past Dainton to force overtime. Shots were even at one apiece during the overtime period, but Marc Concannon made a potential season-saving shot block on a shot from Jeff Dimmen at the point as time expired.