Recap: Minutemen Knock Off #14 Quinnipiac On The Road

The Massachusetts Minutemen got their biggest win of the season last night, erasing an early deficit to beat the #14 Quinnipiac Bobcats in Hamden, CT.  It’d be easy to just look at the box score and chalk this one up to Henry Dill “stealing” a game as the freshman goaltender racked up 37 saves on the night.  But that would overlook the contributions that came from all over the roster.  Last night’s big win was a total team effort.

Dill did his part of course, being in good position all night and minimizing rebounds, something that has hurt him recently.  The win now brings him to .500 on the season at 4-4-0.  I think the key to the game was the job that Dill and the guys in front of him did on the penalty kill.  The Bobcats came into the game with the 6th best power play in the country at 25.5%.  Sam Anas led the nation in power play goals and power play points.  Dill and UMass ended up shutting down the vaunted Anas and his team’s power play, with the Bobcats going 0 for 6 with the extra man.  QU got 11 shots on goal during the power play, including 5 down the stretch in the third period, and all were turned away.  As for Anas, he was held without a point all night and only managed two shots on goal.  Oleg Yevenko was a force on defense, accumulating a season high 7 blocked shots on the night.

Offensively we also saw contributions from all over the scoresheet.  After the Bobcats grabbed a 1-0 lead late in the 1st period UMass answered immediately with a power play goal from Steven Iacobellis, as Patrick Lee fed him streaking down the slot with a nice heads up pass from behind the goal line.  Not only was it important for UMass to respond to the Bobcat goal, but it was good to see the matching goal come from the power play which had struggled recently.  Ray Pigozzi got the second assist on the goal and would pick up another assist on UMass’ second goal which was a great cross ice feed to Frank Vatrano as the duo rushed in on Bobcat goaltender Michael Garteig.  UMass’ last goal came at a key spot, just seconds into the third period.  It all started with Lee taking away the puck from a Bobcat looking to exit his own zone and finished with Dennis Kravchenko making a great pass from the boards onto the stick of Troy Power in the slot to help seal the win for UMass.

This was probably UMass’ most complete game this season, executing well in nearly all facets of play.  The only negative would probably be faceoffs where they went 24 for 68.  But they went 1 for 4 on the power play, kept the highly rated Quinnipiac power play off the board entirely, played solid team defense, got stellar play in net, and successfully challenged the opposing netminder, with all three goals coming from nice heads up passing.  If UMass is going to get back on track, last night’s game is a good example of how to do it, by executing well in all aspects of their game.  Tonight they’ll get the chance to see if they can play that well consistently when the Bobcats come north for the back half of the home and home.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Henry Dill
It really was a team effort on defense and the penalty kill last night, but Dill deserves credit for his 37 saves against a quality offensive team.  He did a good job controlling his rebounds and squaring up to the shooter, minimizing the good looks available.

Quinnipiac didn’t post highlights of the game, but you can watch the entire replay here.

Recap and Box Score from UMass Athletics.

Here’s the game story from the Quinnipiac Chronicle.

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