Junior forward T.J. Syner scores two goals and adds assist for Minutemen
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BURLINGTON, Vt. - T.J. Syner recorded two goals and an assist and Paul Dainton picked up his second career shutout and first of the season to lead Massachusetts past Vermont, 6-0, in Hockey East action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Vermont falls to 3-9-3 in Hockey East and 5-13-4 overall with the loss. UMass improves to 5-7-3 in league play and 6-12-3 overall.
Danny Hobbs got the Minutemen out to a 1-0 lead at 15:27 of the opening period when line mate T.J. Syner controlled the puck through the crease and laced a pass to the trailing Hobbs who had a wide open look at the net. Branden Gracel also assisted on the play.
UMass struck again at 17:53 of the first frame, when Syner took a feed from Hobbs at the top of the left circle, Syner quickly whipped a shot past UVM netminder Rob Madore to give the Minutemen a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Massachusetts took a commanding 3-0 lead, just 37 seconds into the second frame when Syner curled around the back of the Vermont net and redirected a pass from Doug Kublin past Madore. Joel Hanley was credited with the second assist on the play.
The Minutemen added to their lead when points leader Michal Pereira got on the score sheet at 9:30 of the second period. Pereira finished a play as he took a feed from Eric Filiou. Madore came out to play the puck leaving Pereira all alone in front of the net. Connor Sheary also assisted on the goal that put UMass in front 4-0.
UMass was not done in the second period as Kevin Czepiel collected a rebound in front of the net and sent a wrist shot high over the pads of Madore to make it 5-0 at 14:06. Chase Langeraap and Patrick Kiley provided assists.
Alex Vazzano came in to replace Madore (13 saves) after the fifth goal and made seven saves before giving up the final goal of the game.
The final Minutemen goal was tacked on late in the third period at 18:56 as Langraap finished a shot from the bottom of the right circle that beat Vazzano to extend the lead by six goals. Hobbs and Darren Rowe picked up assists on the play.
"Consistency is something you strive for as a team. Tonight was a big step back for us unfortunately," said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. "I thought they played great from the net out," Sneddon added. "We left Rob (Madore) out to dry, it wasn't anything he did wrong, we just needed to shake things up."
Vermont returns to action when it visits No. 13 Merrimack for a two-game series on Friday (Jan. 28) at 7 p.m. and Saturday (Jan. 29) at 7:30 at Lawler Arena. Saturday's game will be televised on the New England Sports Network (NESN). NESN is channel 628 on DIRECTV and channel 434 (5434 HD) on Dish Network. Both games will be broadcast on WVMT-620 AM and on the Internet at SportsJuice.com. Live video of Friday's game will be available on AmericaOne.com.
NOTES: Massachusetts wins the regular season series over Vermont, 2-1 ... Vazzano had not seen game action since UVM's loss at St. Lawrence 6-4 (Dec. 18) and had not played in a Hockey East contest since the Catamounts loss at Massachusetts 4-1 (Nov. 23) ... Tonight's game was Vazzano's first official game action at Gutterson Fieldhouse.