AMHERST, Mass. - No. 7 University of Massachusetts saw newcomers contribute five points in the squad's season-opening 5-1 win over UConn at the Mullins Center on Friday night. The non-conference matchup between the Hockey East foes puts the Minutemen at 1-0-0, while the Huskies fall to 0-1-0.
"I'm very happy with the way our team performed tonight," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "I thought we were really solid throughout 60 minutes and it really never felt like momentum was shifted against us. I think we're fortunate that we made it through this entire fall without any shutdowns, which allowed us to really continue pushing our players and we looked like we were game shape ready, which we were hoping was going to be an advantage of ours, especially early on, and I thought it was tonight."
UMass opened the scoring with a power-play goal 5:26 into the first as sophomore Cal Kiefiuk tapped home the puck at the right post with freshmen Josh Lopina and Aaron Bohlinger picking up the assists.
The Huskies leveled the score before the intermission, though. Kale Howarth finished off behind the net feed from Jonny Evans to tie things up at 1-1 at the 14:18 mark. Cassidy Bowes collected an assist on the play as well.
Junior transfer Garrett Wait managed to put the Minutemen back on top early in the second with his first goal in a UMass uniform, firing the puck home from the slot off a heads-up pass from senior Oliver Chau. Bohlinger collected his second helper of the night on the play for a two-point effort in his collegiate debut.
Midway through the third, freshman Oliver MacDonald added an important insurance goal to give the Minutemen some breathing room at 3-1. The rookie flung the puck past Tomas Vomacka at the net front off a cross-ice pass from juniors Colin Felix and Bobby Trivigno 10:01 into the stanza.
Sophomore Zac Jones cleaned up a rebound from Trivigno at 17:29 to stretch the advantage to 4-1 as UMass capitalized on a UConn turnover in its own zone.
Senior Oliver Chau then capped the scoring with a power-play goal from junior Marc Del Gaizo and sophomore Eric Faith 18:51 into the period, Faith's first collegiate point.
The Minutemen out-shot the Huskies 46-22 in the contest and went 2-for-6 on the power play, while UConn was 0-for-5 with the man advantage. Senior Matt Murray made 21 saves in net for UMass and Vomacka finished the evening with 41 stops for UConn.
The teams will close out the weekend home-and-home weekend tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. in Storrs, Connecticut at Freitas Ice Forum.