AMHERST, Mass. - A stellar day for No. 10 University of Massachusetts hockey's special teams helped carry the squad to a 6-2 victory over UConn at the Mullins Center on Wednesday afternoon. With their third straight victory, the Minutemen move to 5-3-1 (5-3-1 HE), while the Huskies fall to 1-4-1 (1-4-1 HE) on the year.
"That's a solid victory against a good UConn team who made close there in the third," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "I was a little disappointed that we came out in the third, talked about finishing strong and allowed them, what we feel were two fairly easy goals against, but a lot of credit to the guys on our team who came to play tonight. I thought the last 15 minutes we took the game back over. Carson Gicewicz was outstanding tonight. Every shift on the ice tonight felt like he was making really good things happen for us, either physically or making plays. I thought Matt Murray was excellent tonight. I thought he was really solid, in control and played the puck extremely well, the goals they scored were not at all his fault and I thought he was excellent tonight."
UMass converted on its first power play of the day to go up 1-0, 3:20 into the opening period. Senior Oliver Chau dished the puck to sophomore Zac Jones whose wrister found its way past Tomas Vomacka from the top of the slot. Murray earned an assist on the play, as well.
The Minutemen then opened the second period with another man advantage conversion 56 seconds in as sophomore Matt Kessel buried a one-timer from Gicewicz and junior Bobby Trivigno from inside the left faceoff circle. The tally extended Kessel's scoring streak to three straight as he is now tied for the national lead in goals by defensemen with four.
Trivigno pushed the UMass lead to 3-0, finishing off a tic-tac-toe sequence from freshman Aaron Bohlinger and junior Ty Farmer at the 16:24 mark.
UConn quickly made it a one-goal game less than five minutes into the third. Hudson Schandor drove home a feed from Nick Capone and Jake Flynn below the goal line at the three-minute mark and, just 1:09 later, Jonny Evans put back a rebound from Kale Howarth and Harrison Rees that closed the gap to 3-2.
However, the Minutemen responded by converting another power play opportunity to go 3-for-6 on the day and extended their lead back to two. Gicewicz redirected a pass from Jones and Kessel past Tomas Vomacka at 6:13.
UMass then regained its three-goal cushion with Trivigno finding junior Garrett Wait in front for a quick strike 9:53 into the frame after junior Colin Felix held the puck in the zone at the blueline.
Gicewicz later capped the scoring with his second of the day, his second straight two-goal game, blocking a shot in the defensive zone and taking the puck the other way for the tally at the 12:11 mark. The graduate transfer finished the afternoon with three points (2g, 1a) as did Trivigno (1g, 2a). Trivigno now leads the Minutemen with 12 points through nine games, bolstered by a seven-point stretch over the past three contests. Kessel and Jones each had multi-point games, as well, with a goal and an assist apiece.
In addition to its 50% clip on the power play, UMass' penalty kill was also a perfect 5-for-5 against the Huskies. UConn ended the day with a 29-25 shot advantage, while Murray made 27 saves for the Minutemen and Vomacka, his counterpart, totaled 19 stops.