Nothing like a Saturday matinee as UMass travels down I-91 to take on American International University in Springfield. The Minutemen look to get back to winning ways after falling 2-1 at home last night to UMass-Lowell. AIC has been off since splitting with Robert Morris last weekend.
The Yellow Jackets had the first scoring chance of the game when Center Shawn McBride intercepted a UMass pass but was turned away by goalie Matt Murray. The nation’s 2nd ranked Power Play was given it’s first chance to get to work when AIC wing Tobias Fladeby was whistled for holding @ 3:51. AIC’s McBride had a short handed breakaway chance but was caught from behind by a backchecking Mitchell Chaffee. The Minutemen scored as the man advantage was expiring when Kurt Keats fed a pass to George Mika, who backhanded the puck over the shoulder of goalie Zackarias Skog.
For the majority of the first period AIC looked slow in comparison to UMass. Skog’s netminding was keeping the score close. The Yellow Jackets were having trouble breaking out of their defensive zone. UMass capitalized on this when Bobby Trivigno dug the puck out of the corner and set up Anthony Del Gaizo. Skog made the initial save but the rebound bounced in off of the skate AIC’s Justin Cole. 2-0 Minutemen @ 13:29.
AIC by now was finding their feet. Darius Davidson had a nice chance on Murray as the Yellow Jackets started to control play in the Minuteman zone. Defenseman Brennan Kapcheck had a good opportunity as well. AIC missed the net on a few chances, coupled with Murray’s play.
In the second period AIC’s game picked up. The Yellow Jackets were put on the Power Play just :18 into the period when Philip Lagunov was called for Hooking. Subsequently Ivan Chukarov was called for Holding @ 1:16 giving AIC a 5 on 3 advantage. The Yellow Jackets only managed 1 chance on the 2 man advantage, but their aggressive play continued. That momentum wasn’t enough to keep the Minutemen from going up 3-0 @ 5:54 when Jake Gaudet wrapped around the AIC net and set up a Chaffee goal.
AIC got on the board @ 11:01 when McBride tipped a Blake Christensen shot past Murray. 3-1 UMass. AIC’s play continued to be solid offensively. Fladeby was stonewalled all alone out front by Murray. McBride was called for hooking @ 17:49 giving the Minutemen another Power Play. Marc Del Gaizo put the finishing touches on this game when he scored on a rebound @ 19:20 putting UMass comfortably up 4-1.
The third seen UMass’ Cale Makar set Jacob Pritchard up alone on Skog’s dooorstep @ 3:53. John Leonard scored for the Minutemen @ 4:59 capping the score at 6-1 UMass. Justin Cole was called for a 5 minute major when he Boarded Brett Boeing @ 11:34. AIC successfully killed the 5 minute penalty and had a 4 on 1 rush that didn’t garner a shot attempt. The game ended with UMass outshooting AIC 35-22.