AMHERST, Mass. - Despite a quick start for the UMass hockey team with two goals in the first minute of the contest, Vermont scored three unanswered, including two on the power play, to defeat the Minutemen, 3-2 on Friday night at the Mullins Center. Following the setback, UMass sits at 3-8-2 on the season, 1-5-2 in Hockey East, while Vermont improves to 4-5-1 overall and 3-4-0 in league action.
Five Minutemen registered one point apiece in the contest, including senior Conor Sheary, who recorded his third assist in the past two games and squad-best seventh helper of the year. Freshmen Steven Iacobellis contributed a goal and an assist, respectively for their seven and eighth points of the year. Iacobellis' tally marked his fifth of the season to match senior Branden Gracel for the team lead.
Just 15 seconds into the first, senior Michael Pereira won the puck in the corner and sent it to Sheary in front. Sheary tapped it over to senior Adam Phillips for his second tally of the season.
The Minutemen then made it 2-0 moments later. Pigozzi caused a turnover at the blueline in the UMass defensive zone, creating a 2-on-1 in the other direction that was finished by Iacobellis at the 59-second mark.
However, the Catamounts cut their deficit in half on the first power play opportunity of the night for either side. Colin Markinson redirected a shot from the point by Michael Paliotta past UMass goaltender Steve Mastalerz 8:26 into the period. Jake Fallon earned an assist on the play, as well.
Vermont scored on a similar redirection play with the man advantage 7:46 into the second period to pull even with the Minutemen. Paliotta and Mario Puskarich set up Pete Massar.
The Catamounts then climbed on top, 3-2 at the 14:10 mark of the stanza. Amid a host of penalties that resulted in a 4-on-4 situation, Nick Lukko and Massar connected with Nick Bruneteau for the game-winner.
Vermont out-shot UMass 29-23 on the evening and went 2-for-4 with the man advantage, while holding the Minutemen to a 0-for-2 night on the power play.
After being sidelined with an injury that kept him out of the past three contests for UMass, Mastalerz posted 26 saves. Brody Hoffman had 21 stops in net for UVM.
The teams will meet for a second time on the weekend on Sunday, Nov. 24, in Burlington, Vt., at 4 p.m.