Men’s hockey inconsistent against UMass

The men’s hockey team played two very different games against UMass on Jan. 21 and 22. The first resulted in an encouraging 2-1 victory while the second was a painful 6-0 defeat.

“They put their speed to great use, their transition game was great, they were awesome tonight and we were terrible,” Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon said of the weekend’s final game.

“Terrible” was not a word that could be used to describe the team that took the ice on Friday night, as Vermont edged out the Minutemen, taking only one period to do so.

Seniors Josh Burrows and Jack Downing scored for Vermont while first year Conor Sheary netted the lone goal for UMass. All of the game’s scoring took place in the opening period.

When UMass first year Michael Pereira was called for a cross checking penalty at 8:20, Burrows took advantage. He shot the puck low and it slid past UMass senior goalie and captain Paul Dainton at 9:22.

The Catamounts added their second goal at 16:54, when Downing tipped in a shot taken by senior Dan Lawson from the right of the UMass net.

The Minutemen did not give up on the first period, though, as they closed out the scoring in the period by cutting Vermont’s lead in half.

Sheary sent a one-timer to the top corner of the Vermont net at 17:24, beating junior goalie Rob Madore and putting his team on the board.

“I thought in the first period Vermont had the edge and they obviously scored the two goals and getting that goal back was big in terms of us getting into the game and making a little bit of a run that could have possibly turned the tide,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said.

The following night was a completely different story for the Catamounts and the Minutemen, as UMass roared past the team that had beaten them the previous night.

Junior assistant captain T.J. Syner scored twice for UMass. Junior assistant captain Danny Hobbs, first year Michael Pereira, sophomore Kevin Czepiel and senior Chase Langeraap also notched goals for the Minutemen.

“I’m a little bit speechless because we haven’t had too many nights like this,” Cahoon said. “This league doesn’t afford you nights like this very often, and you know, quite honestly, I would have taken a 1-0 win and gone away extremely happy, but the fact that we were able to make some plays and convert on those plays and get the shutout was a little bit of a bonus.”

With under five minutes left to play in the first, shots-on-goal were even at six for both teams. It appeared that this was possibly turning into another scoreless period, as two periods had been in the previous night’s game.

It was here that the Minutemen broke through and shattered the scoreless tie at 15:27. Madore slid to the left of the net, leaving an open gap for Hobbs, who knocked in the puck.

Minutes later at 17:53, Syner added a goal for UMass when he received the puck from Hobbs and shot a quick wrister that flew to the back of the Vermont net.

UMass carried momentum with them into the second period, scoring three goals in the frame.

Madore was soon pulled from the net in favor of first year Alex Vazzano.

“We left Rob [Madore] out to dry,” Sneddon said. “It wasn’t anything he did wrong, we just needed to shake things up.”

Langeraap’s goal dealt the final blow to the Catamounts late in the third period at 18:56 when he sent a low snap shot into the net from the right circle.