AMHERST, Mass. - In front of a record-setting crowd of 7,123 the UMass hockey team began the John Micheletto era with a 4-1 win over Connecticut on Friday evening at the Mullins Center, the highest attendance for a home opener in program history. The victory, which marked the first for Micheletto as a head coach, moves the Minutemen to 1-0-0 on the season, while the Huskies fall to 0-1-0.
Junior Branden Gracel and redshirt-sophomore Stephen Guzzo had multi-point nights for UMass, each notching a goal and an assist. Junior Colin Shay and senior Darren Rowe added a tally each for their first points of the season while junior Eric Filiou and junior Joel Hanley contributed assists to the winning effort.
Capitalizing on its first power play opportunity of the season, the Minutemen began the scoring 6:11 into the opening period. Gracel fed Colin Shea at the top of the slot to give UMass a 1-0 lead.
However, the Huskies managed to equalize on an extra-man chance of their own. At the 11:56 mark, Cody Sharib found Tyler Helton on the opposite wing for the quick wrister past sophomore netminder Kevin Boyle.
Before the period drew to a close, UMass pulled back in front, 2-1. Junior Joel Hanley broke up a UConn pass and knocked the puck ahead to Guzzo. Gracel then redirected a rocket from Guzzo at 16:27.
The Minutemen later pulled away with a pair of third period tallies. Guzzo added his second point of the night with an unassisted goal 1:53 into the stanza. Then senior Darren Rowe notched UMass' second power-play goal of the evening from junior Eric Filiou at the 7:26 mark.
The Minutemen led in total shots, 39-25 while also recording an advantage in attempts during each period. UMass controlled play throughout much of the first to earn a 16-7 lead in shots before recording 13-10 and 10-8 leads in the second and third stanzas, respectively.
Sophomore Kevin Boyle earned the win between the posts, turning aside 24 UConn shots to secure his ninth career win while only allowing one goal against. Huskies netminder Garrett Barttus was charged with all four UMass tallies, stopping 35 shots for UConn.
The Minutemen continue the 2012-13 campaign on Friday, Oct. 19 with a 7 p.m. contest against No. 1-nationally ranked Boston College at the Mullins Center.