The theme of this young season is that the Massachusetts hockey team continues to progress, finding ways to overcome challenges, and stays competitive. Last night the Minutemen made strides in keeping their opponents off the scoreboard in a 3-2 win over Northeastern. The main reason for this was the play of freshman goaltender Henry Dill who stopped 42 of 44 shots in just his second collegiate shot but that doesn’t mean this wasn’t a team effort.
Northeastern got on the board first 3:46 into the game when Zach Aston-Reese made a nice move on Jake Horton to skate into the slot and got the puck to Torin Snyderman who shot past Dill. Horton would make up for it just two and a half minutes later by shooting on Derek Roy, who was a surprise starter in net for NU. Zack LaRue got his stick on Horton’s shot for his second goal of the season, tying the game at a goal apiece. The Minutemen would take the lead later in the first on a power play goal from Ray Pigozzi, who followed up a three assist game last Saturday with his first goal of the season. The Huskies tied it shortly after when Dill was unable to cover up a loose puck in front of him and Dalen Hedges jumped on it and put it into the net.
At the end of the first with four goals on the board and 25 total shots it seemed like the game would end up being a barnburner, but the goaltenders would settle in and only one goal was scored the rest of the game. That goal came off the stick of Emerson Auvenshine who was inserted into the lineup at defense with Maddison Smiley and Ben Gallacher banged up. The gamewinner came from a great cross ice pass on the rush from LaRue to Auvenshine who one timed it over Roy’s shoulder. Dill kept the Huskies off the board for the final 11 minutes and UMass picked up their first Hockey East win of the season.
Dill will rightly get the accolades from the win for his 42 save effort, but the guys in front of him deserve credit as well. Dill probably let up more rebounds than he and the coaching staff would like, but the defense and forwards were quick to clear the loose pucks and minimize potential second chances. The team killed all seven of the Huskies’ power play chances and have now killed 15 of 16 opponent power plays on the season. One area of improvement will be to not allow so many shots on net, but for a defensive unit that is pretty thin and now starting forwards, I thought last night was pretty good on the defensive end.
It won’t get any easier though as they face a Boston College team that put up six goals on Colorado College last night. It should be interesting to see who gets the start in net as Steve Mastalerz has had some of the best games of his career against the Eagles, but Dill proved himself as a legitimate Hockey East goaltender last night. Either way, it’s good to have options in net. I couldn’t help but notice that when the buzzer sounded Mastalerz was the first guy off the bench to congratulate Dill on his win. I think the bigger question going into tonight though is when we’ll see something from the top line. While it’s been excellent that UMass has been able to win two in a row based solely on production from their second and third lines, if the Minutemen have any chance of upsetting the 6th ranked Eagles they absolutely have to get something from the line of Vatrano/Kravchenko/Power.
Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Henry Dill
Obviously. The highlights below include some of Dill’s better saves as well as the goals.
The performances by Dill and Auvenshine are the focus on this Boston Herald recap.
Northeastern coach Jim Madigan blames the lack of puck luck for his team’s loss in the USCHO recap.