SPRINGFIELD, MASS. — A sloppy game between two bitter regional rivals resulted in eleven goals and a 6-5 win for UMass over visiting UConn (1-4-1, 1-1-1 MAAC) at the Springfield Civic Center.
“I just though that two teams were battling out there,” UConn coach Bruce Marshall said.
If not for special teams play than the Minutemen (4-4-0, 2-1-0 Hockey East) could have easily been on the losing end of this annual sweat garnering contest.
Four of UMass’ goals came on special teams including one shorthanded tally by Greg Mauldin.
Down three goals, the UConn offense exploded for four tallies in the final period but it wasn’t enough as the Minutemen added two of their own to take a 6-5 out of conference win.
“The most disappointing thing was that the last 20 minutes was a breakdown defensively,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said.
Defenseman Samuli Jalkanen got the game winner on the power play at 15:09 of the third period. His top circle slap shot beat UConn goalie Artie Imbriano five-hole giving UMass a 6-3 lead at the time.
Matt Grew and Mike Boylan (UConn) bookended a Mauldin (UMass) goal to cut the Minutemen’s lead to two before Jalkanen got the winner.
UConn scored three of the previous four goals, including a trio on rookie netminder Tim Warner. Warner replaced senior Mike Johnson after the second intermission, but was shaky at best allowing four goals on only 12 shots.
Boylan got the Huskies on the board with under two minutes left in the second frame. Senior center Trent Landry controlled the puck behind the net, before sliding a one handed feed to a cutting Boylan for the goal and a 4-1 UMass lead.
The Minutemen had no answer for Boylan as he totaled a pair of goals on the evening.
Mauldin gave the Minutemen a four-goal lead off a fortunate carom at 17:32 of the second. The freshman netted a one-time shot after Martin Miljko’s point shot rattled off the back boards and out in front.
“My confidence is growing every game,” said Mauldin who notched two goals and an assist in the win.”
Miljko stuffed home his second tally on another circumstantial play just three minutes earlier. Defenseman Kelly Sickavish fired a slapper that squeezed UConn goalie Imbriano’s five hole and onto Miljko’s waiting blade. The senior opened the second period scoring with a power play goal at 1:54.
“People have been telling me to shoot more,” Miljko said. “I really hadn’t been shooting the puck a lot.”
Thomas Pock broke the 0-0 tie at 4:25 of the first with goalmouth deflection off a wrist shot from Sean Regan. The teams played to a stalemate for the remainder of the period as some chippy play limited the offensive play for both teams.
Matt Herhal put in a goalmouth rebound with 42 seconds left in third and the goalie pulled to cut the deficit to one, but UMass held on to take the slim victory in front of a sparse Springfield crowd.