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Last Minutemen: Hockey Splits with UMass

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Hockey loses a heartbreaker to split season opening series with UMass

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Call me out for being greedy but man I am a little deflated after the Spartan hockey team only split with UMass this weekend. While there was clear improvement (8 goals in 2 games is simply amazing compared to the last two seasons), having a sweep so close but not finishing is frustrating. It is just the first week of the season though and there is plenty to be happy about before heading east this weekend.

Friday Night MSU 5 UMass 3

The top line on Friday night of Mackenzie MacEachern, Michael Ferrantino and Matt Berry found chemistry quickly, with three goals and seven points between the trio. The Spartans scored two first period goals and survived a 5 minute penalty kill, after Brent Darnell was ejected for a check from behind. In the second period, the Minutemen found some offense and tied the game up with just seven minutes played in the frame. The Spartans' special teams continued to roll with MacEachern getting a goal on the power play to keep the Spartans ahead going into the third period.

In the third Matt DeBlouw made good on being inserted into the lineup and scored what would eventually be the game winner. DeBlouw unleased a wicked wrister coming down the left boards, that went crossbar down and touched off another celebration under the new Munn spotlights. Matt Berry would add his second goal of the game, before UMass would get a third but the game would never get closer than that. The Spartans outshot the Minutemen 27-24 and were perfect on the penalty kill.

Saturday Night UMass 4, MSU 3

For the second night in a row the Spartans took a 5 minute major penalty, only this time the Spartans couldn't survive the penalty kill and it cost them at least a tie. Justin Hoomaian was sent off with just under four minutes remaining for a contact to the head major penalty and UMass' Patrick Lee scored on the power play with just 9.9 seconds remaining  to break a 3-3 tie. Saturday was an up and down game with the first line once again leading the way in scoring. Berry scored twice and Ferrantino scored just 52 seconds into the third period to give the Spartans their first lead of the game 3-2. However, the Spartans couldn't close this time, surrendering the tying goal with just 4:32 remaining and then taking the major penalty quickly after that.

Looking back at the three keys

  • Quick Start- Great start Friday night, racing out to a 2-0 lead. Saturday the game took a while to get going and UMass was able to score twice in the last 5 minutes of the period to take a 2-1 lead into intermission. The new lights looked great and if winning can bring fans Munn has a new found potential as a great place to play.
  • Neutralize the Iacobellis-Pegozzi Line- Worked great Friday, not so great Saturday. Iacobellis scored twice Saturday, including the tying goal in the third period and an assist on the winning goal. Pegozzi finished with two assists Saturday night.
  • Score 3 Goals- Check on both nights, so mission accomplished. Jake Hildebrand got off to a slow start last season and didn't have his best effort this weekend either. He'll likely not get 8 goals every weekend from this offense, so their needs to be some improvement on defense.

Next Up

The Spartans travel east this weekend to continue play in the B1G-Hockey East Challenge. The Spartans play at Boston University Friday night and UMass-Lowell on Saturday. Both teams came to Munn last season, with the Spartans defeating the Terriers of BU and losing to top ranked Lowell.

Around the B1G

Not a great weekend for the league, with the Spartans being a bright spot really. Michigan split with New Hampshire at home, after starting the season 0-2 for the first time since WWII, after losing Friday night. Wisconsin was swept by Northern Michigan, being outscored 6-1 on the weekend. The young Badgers are truly struggling and at 0-4 on the season, possibly opening the door for the #3 spot in the league in these struggles continue. Penn State played in Alaska, tying Anchorage Friday night and losing a close game to Fairbanks Saturday. Finally, Ohio State was swept by Miami (OH) scoring only one goal each night.