AMHERST, Mass. - No. 2 University of Massachusetts hockey capped off a stellar first half of the season with a 5-2 victory over No. 18 Yale at the Mullins Center on Tuesday night. The win maintains the Minutemen's perfect mark at home this year (8-0-0) and moves the squad to 14-2-0 heading into the semester break, while the Bulldogs fall to 7-3-0 and see their win streak snapped at five.
"I was nervous about Yale," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "We watched their three previous games and they've been playing extremely well. They're a very fast hockey team that combines physical presence and good goaltending. I thought we played really well tonight-I thought after the first period we could have been ahead by a couple goals instead of one. I loved the response from my team when Yale tied it at two; we just kind of found another gear and finished the game off in style. It took me some time to get to this press conference because I was telling (my team) how grateful I am that I get to coach them. They're a group that is completely committed to doing things the right way and it's a real pleasure. We combine skill, speed, grit, character, a lot of qualities that have gotten us to this point."
UMass took a 1-0 lead 6:27 into the opening period with double drop passes from sophomores Oliver Chau and Mitchell Chaffee to set up linemate Jake Gaudet's first of the season.
Chau pushed the margin to 2-0 with a power-play goal 13:13 into the second. After freshman Ty Farmer's initial shot was stopped by Sam Tucker, freshman Bobby Trivigno knocked the puck free and Chau was there at the doorstep to finish the play.
Yale managed to tie the score at 2-2 in the opening moments of the third period. Luke Stevens began the rally, cleaning up a rebound 32 seconds into the stanza. Robbie DeMontis then added another for the Bulldogs at the 5:17 mark.
Just 56 seconds later, however, Gaudet responded with his second of the night, depositing a feed from senior Jacob Pritchard below the goal line into the Yale net. Sophomore Cale Makar earned an assist on the tally, as well.
Chaffee regained the two-goal lead for the Minutemen with the squad's second on the power play of the evening. Pritchard, after receiving the puck from sophomore John Leonard, again found a teammate with a feed from behind the net as Chaffee buried his 11th of the season at the 11:52 mark.
For a third time from down low, Pritchard set up sophomore Philip Lagunov in front 17:02 into the frame. Sophomore Marc Del Gaizo earned the secondary assist.
UMass finished the contest with a 35-23 shot advantage and went 2-for-4 on the power play, while Yale was 0-for-3.
Sophomore Matt Murray improved to 11-0-0 on the year after making 21 stops for the Minutemen and Tucker totaled 30 saves for the Bulldogs.
The Chau (1g, 1a), Gaudet (2g) and Chaffee (1g, 1a) line combined for six of UMass' 15 points on the night including four of five goals. Pritchard's three assists marked a career high for the senior.
UMass will be idle until Jan. 4 when the squad will begin the second half against Hockey East foe UMass Lowell at the Mullins Center at 7 p.m.