AMHERST, Mass. — Freshman Kevin Jarman busted out for two goals and classmate Garret Summerfield scored the first of his collegiate career as Massachusetts defeated Vermont, 4-2, at the Mullins Center.
The win didn’t come easy, though, as the Minutemen showed signs of a letdown in their first game against a non-Hockey East foe since a 2-1 win over Holy Cross on Oct. 24. While the Catamounts never really took control of the game early, the third period had them making a strong push to even things up.
“We played well enough in the first two periods to control the game,” Cahoon said, “but then we were on the brink of despair in the third. We know we weren’t skating as hard as we had to skate.”
Jarman’s second goal of the evening turned out to be the game winner. Senior Thomas Pck’s slap shot from the point rebounded first to Mike Warner, and when his stuff attempt was stopped, Jarman banged the second rebound home to make it 3-0 UMass.
Jarman, who played for the Stouffville Spirit of the Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League prior to coming to Amherst, began to show signs of fulfilling expectations last night, something that has taken time through the transition from Canadian Junior A to American collegiate hockey.
“Just the thinking aspect is different,” Jarman said. “Obviously the guys here are stronger and are quicker with the puck, but it’s a lot about having your head up when you don’t have the puck.”
The solid play of the freshman from Aurora also allowed Cahoon the luxury of keeping junior Greg Mauldin out while he continues to nurse a leg injury.
“Kevin’s play gave me the confidence to know I didn’t have to bring Greg back prematurely.”
According to Cahoon, Mauldin will make the team’s trip this weekend for a two-game set at Nebraska-Omaha, though his playing status is still up in the air.
After a slow start that had the Mullins Center in a crypt-like state, the Minutemen finally gave the smallish home crowd a reason to cheer, with a scoring burst that began with Kevin Jarman’s second goal of the season at 13:20. Chris Capraro sent a feed from the faceoff dot across to Thomas Pck at the point. Pck unloaded a slap shot that Jarman tipped past UVM goaltender Matt Hanson to make it 1-0 UMass.
Garret Summerfield scored his first collegiate goal 40 seconds later, when he made a nifty move on Hanson just in front of the crease, and backhanded it home for a two-goal advantage.
Stephen Werner also got in on the fun, when Vermont’s Jeff Miles coughed up a puck at his own blue line. Werner, on a mild forecheck, made the steal and went in alone on Hanson, wristing the puck below the goaltender’s glove from the mid-slot at 17:43 of the second.
The Catamounts made things interesting in the third, finally breaking the seal Winer had created through the first two periods. Joey Gasparini scored on a feed from Ryan Gunderson after a bevy of penalties were called following a scrum in front of Winer.
UVM added another goal when Brady Leisenring fed a beautiful pass to Art Femenella in the slot, and Femenella converted to make it 4-2. But the Catamounts couldn’t add another goal.
Next up for Vermont is another Hockey East squad, Northeastern. However the Catamounts will have an extended Thanksgiving break before clashing with the Huskies on Dec. 6. UMass and UVM will meet again in the Sheraton/BankNorth Classic on Dec. 28 in Burlington, Vt.
The Minutemen travel to Nebraska on Friday for a two-game set against Nebraska-Omaha. Both Friday and Saturday night’s games are at 8 p.m. ET, with Friday’s game airing on national television as part of CSTV’s Friday Night Hockey package.