As I wrote in my preview of the exhibition game, I was most interested in seeing how the large freshmen class fared yesterday. Needless to say, I and the other Minuteman fans walked out of the Mullins Center pretty happy after the freshmen spurred UMass to a 5-2 win over Dalhousie. The Minutemen just dominated this game from the outset. In fact at the end of the first period the score was already 3-0 with UMass outshooting the Tigers 23-1.
The freshmen forwards all looked pretty good and seemed to have a good understanding of the offense. Standing out the most was Dennis Kravchenko who scored two goals. The first came from a great feed from Troy Power ahead to Kravcheko who was streaking into the slot and put the puck behind the goaltender. The second came on a wrister at the top of the slot on the power play. Coach Micheletto had him playing the point on the power play, also having a forward Frank Vatrano at the point on the other PP unit as well. Dominic Trento was the other freshman forward to score a goal, getting the last by collecting a loose puck in front of the net and scoring. Keith Burchett assisted on one of Kravchenko’s goals. Though he didn’t show up on the score sheet I thought Patrick Lee played extremely well making some great passes.
Jake Horton was the lone freshman to dress on defense as Maddison Smiley was reported to be ill. Horton gave the fans plenty to watch all by himself though, scoring the first goal of the game on a wrist shot after collecting a loose puck at the top of the slot. Horton had many more shots after that, finishing the game with an astonishing 12 shots. Vatrano also had a dozen shots on net, converting on one of them and also assisting on a Kravchenko goal. Vatrano played very well and looks to be ready to start the season as a key piece for the Minutemen.
The goaltenders each played a period each, though Steve Mastalerz only saw one shot during his 20 minutes. Freshman Henry Dill had one of the highlights of the night with a flashy glove on a breakaways early on in the second. Alex Wakaluk played solid, only giving up a garbage goal late I in the game. Goaltending and defense looked strong, though UMass controlled the puck so much they were rarely tested. UMass ended up outshooting the Tigers 55-21 during the game, a very encouraging stat to say the least.
All in all it was a very successful exhibition. The freshman looked poised and were able to move the puck and generate shots on net. There didn’t look to be any glaring deficiencies on defense or in net. And it didn’t appear anyone got hurt. A positive experience to build on ahead of Friday’s opener.
The Collegian has their recap focusing in on the performance of the freshmen.
UConn, picked to finish just behind UMass, beat this same Dalhousie squad 3-1 this afternoon. Shots were 31-23 for the Huskies.