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Three Goal Third Gives Notre Dame 5-3 Win Over UMass, Forces Game 3

The trend of one step forward, one step back has continued into the playoffs for the Massachusetts hockey team.  After dispatching Notre Dame in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday when Shane Walsh’s goal ended a record setting five overtime affair, the teams met again later that night as UMass looked to sweep the Irish and move onto the Hockey East quarterfinals.  But a lot of the problems that have plagued the Minutemen for much of the season, problems that were largely absent in the 150 minutes played the previous night, ultimately led to the Irish grabbing the 5-3 win and forcing the series deciding game later tonight.

After going five full periods on Friday night with neither team scoring a goal the squads got things going offensively early last night.  Mario Lucia would tip a shot from the point past Steve Mastalerz to give the Irish a 1-0 lead just over three minutes in.  After that though the opening period belonged to the Minutemen.  For the second night in a row the Minutemen had a wide margin in shots in the first period, outshooting Notre Dame 14-5.  Frank Vatrano would put UMass on the board halfway through the first, setup by Brandon Montour who at that point had assisted on four of the five UMass’ goals this weekend.  The score would stay at 1-1 as the teams headed to the locker room during the first intermission.  And then early on in the second Shane Walsh would score his second goal of the day, the first coming 19 hours earlier, to give UMass the 2-1 lead.

The Irish would tie it later in the second when both UMass defensemen got caught below the goal line, allowing Thomas DiPauli to pass the puck in front where Peter Schneider one-timed it past Mastalerz.  It stayed 2-2 until the third period when Notre Dame would start the final period with 1:53 of power play.  One minute into the third Vince Hinostroza would wrist one off the post and past a screened Mastalerz to give Notre Dame the lead.  That led to the usual third period downward spiral that UMass fans have grown used to this season.  Hinostroza would strike again three minutes later when he was allowed to one time a shot from the middle of the slot.  Thirty eight seconds after that the wheels had officially fallen off when Steven Fogarty on another one timer, ending Mastalerz’ night.  Three goals in 3:36 and it suddenly was a very different game.

The other familiar downfall for the Minutemen that reappeared on Saturday were their penchant for taking too many penalties.  In the 8 period affair on Friday UMass, the most penalized team in the regular season, took just two penalties and didn’t take any after the second period.  Last night UMass took three penalties in the second, including the one that carried over into the third and led to the tiebreaking goal.  And then once the Irish had established their three goal lead a steady procession to the box, four in all, made any possibility of a comeback impossible.  In the first period when the Minutemen didn’t take penalties they were able to get 14 shots on Cal Peterson.  But the seven penalties in the last two periods helped prevent them from doing thing offensively and limited them to just 11 total shots in the second and third periods.

One step forward, one step back.  It’ll be important for the team to forget about the late period struggles from last night and just focus on the task at hand.  Tonight they’ll have a chance to win and move onto the quarterfinals, something few thought they were capable of accomplishing.  Or another poor effort will mean their season is done.  The good news is that since the start of February, they have not had two really bad games in a row.  The team is now familiar with this Notre Dame squad enough to know what it takes to gain the victory.  It’ll be execution and effort that will show if they can do it.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Shane Walsh
What Walsh is doing right now is beyond belief.  It was known from his junior career that he had a scoring touch, but I don’t think many expected him to become one of the go to goalscorers on the team.

Recap and Box Score From UMass Athletics.

Game story from the Collegian.

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3 Comments

  1. RDW

     /  March 8, 2015

    GAME 3= Blarney Blowout. Coach Mick E. Mouse has one year left.

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  2. umassattack

     /  March 9, 2015

    One thing is for certain, the 2014-2015 Minuteman team has been consistently….inconsistent. You just don’t know what team is going to show up. I don’t even know how much you can blame on coaching or how much you can blame on the players. The players are the talent on the ice, you see what they can do like in Game#1 in the longest game in history. We see them play Providence where they could have won both games of the weekend, they beat UML, and they lose to UCONN. You just don’t know who’s going to show up with these guys.

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