Sophomore forward Branden Gracel picks up game-winner for Minutemen

Sophomore forward Branden Gracel had the game-winning goal for the Minutemen

AMHERST, Mass. - After trailing 1-0 at the end of the first period, the UMass hockey team stormed back to defeat the #17 Yale Bulldogs, 3-1, Wednesday night at the Mullins Center. Sophomore Branden Gracel notched the game-winning goal in the third period while freshman Kevin Boyle stopped 26 shots as the duo helped the Minutemen stay undefeated at home this season (5-0-3 at home). The win pushes UMass to 5-7-4 (2-6-3 Hockey East) while Yale falls to 6-5-1 (4-2-0 ECAC).

In the first period, Yale got out to a fast start by netting the first goal of the game just 5:25 into the contest on a Gus Young wrist shot from the top of the right circle. The powerplay goal was a result of a cross-ice pass from fellow defenseman Nick Jaskowiak. It was Young's first goal of his career and Antoine Laganiere was also credited with an assist.

With 13:06 remaining in the first period, sophomore Patrick Kiley sniped the left post and narrowly missed a game-tying goal for UMass.

In the second stanza, the Mass Attack tied the game at 1-1 on a shot from Peter DeAngelo. The sophomore right winger took a pass from Kevin Czepiel, streaked into the offensive zone and from the slot threw a snap shot on Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm that found the back of the net. The goal came with 12:24 remaining in the period and Conor Allen also received an assist on the goal.

Later in the second period, UMass nearly scored again as DeAngelo sent a beautiful backhand pass across the front of the net to Rocco Carzo. Carzo put a shot on net but Malcolm was able to make the save, keeping the game knotted at 1-1.

Entering the third period tied at one goal a piece, UMass capitalized on a Yale turnover as Branden Gracel rushed the puck into the offensive zone and sent a backhand shot past Malcolm with 10:42 to go. The goal game nearly a minute after Danny Hobbs ringed a wrist shot off of the right post.

With seven minutes remaining Yale turned up the pressure, but Boyle was able to turn aside any attempts at a game-tying goal.

Then at the 19:30 mark, T.J. Syner sealed the UMass victory by scoring an empty net goal for his seventh of the season. He was assisted by Joel Hanley.

The Minutemen edged the Bulldogs in shots 33-27 while Yale had the advantage in faceoffs 30-21. Jeff Malcolm ended the night with 30 saves for Yale. UMass went 0-4 on the powerplay but killed five penalties as Yale scored once on six power play chances.