ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Massachusetts scored two goals in a 48-second span of the third period to overcome a 1-0 deficit and defeat Canisius, 2-1, this evening in the third-place game of the Nye Frontier Classic before 3,076 fans at Sullivan Arena.
Freshman P.J. Fenton tied the game with his first career goal, while sophomore Mark Matheson netted the game-winner just 48 seconds later. The Minutemen return to the contiguous 48 states with a 2-1 record, while Canisius falls to 0-1-1 on the young season.
In the first period, it was Canisius who got the first power-play opportunity 3:38 into the game when freshman David Leaderer was called for interference. The Minutemen successfully killed it off and did not allow a shot by the Golden Griffins.
A few minutes later, Canisius went back on the power play. Again, UMass killed it off and this time, senior Tim Warner made one save. With 7:14 left in the first period the Minutemen went on the power play, but Matt Anderson was called for interference negating the advantage.
UMass did control the puck in the offensive zone for the minute-plus of power-play time and had one shot on goal. Halfway through the ensuing power play, Canisius had an apparent goal, but the referee ruled that it was kicked in and the game remained scoreless.
The Golden Griffins kept the pressure up and peppered Warner with three more shots, but he stopped them all. Neither team mustered much of an offensive threat the rest of the period and the teams left the ice still scoreless. Warner made eight saves in the first frame, while Max Buetow stopped four shots on the other side.
In the second period, UMass had the first good scoring chance in the opening minutes. Just under the 18-minute mark, Leaderer came flying down the left side and dropped a pass back to Anderson trailing the play. Anderson ripped a shot that Buetow got his blocker on and turned aside.
Two minutes later, Fenton threaded the needle to freshman Matt Burto in the slot who hit a back-handed shot which was saved by Buetow. Then off the faceoff, Matheson hit a slap shot which was saved by Buetow.
At the 10:56 mark, Massachusetts was called for a penalty setting up the first power play of the second period for either team. Canisius got one shot off, but it was the Minutemen who had the best chance to score. 1:30 into the Canisius power play, Anderson and junior Stephen Werner had a 2-on-1 break. As Anderson tried to center the puck to Werner it was broken up by the Canisius defender.
Then with 4:46 left, Anderson was called for his second penalty of the game to give the Golden Griffins another power-play chance. Canisius made the most of it and was able to score the game’s first goal. Mike Ruberto received a pass from David Kasch down low and he was able to beat Warner to the glove side for the power-play goal just 15 seconds into the man-advantage.
A few minutes later, the Minutemen were awarded their first power-play of the second period at the 2:38 mark. Matheson took the first shot of the power-play with 23 second s left, but it was saved. That was the only shot on the power-play and Cansius took the 1-0 lead into the second intermission. UMass outshot the Golden Griffins, 8-6, in the period.
In the third period, UMass came out flying and had the two great scoring chances in the first three minutes. Junior James Solon had both of them from point-blank range, but they were saved by Buetow. At the 14:27 mark, the Minutemen went back on the power play as Joel Kitchen of Canisius was called for cross-checking.
After five shots on goal during the power play, the Minutemen were able to tie it at the 13:10 mark. Freshman Mike Kostka fired a shot from the point in a screen which was tipped in by Fenton on the near post for his first career goal. Senior Jeff Lang also assisted.
Then just 48 seconds later, the Minutemen took the lead. Matheson fired a shot from five feet above the face-off circle that beat Buetow. It was assisted by sophomore Garrett Summerfield and marked the first goal of the season for Matheson.
Canisius went back on the power play with 6:28 left and put a couple of shots on net, but Warner was there to turn them aside. Kasch had a quick backhander right off the faceoff after the penalty, but Warner kicked it away. Canisius pulled its goalie in the final minute, but the Minutemen defense did not allow any penetration and was able to preserve the win.
The Minutemen outshot the Golden Griffins, 25-19 in the game. UMass was called for six penalties totalling 12 minutes. The Golden Griffins committed three penalties for six minutes.
Massachusetts will now return home to open up the Hockey East season by hosting UMass.-Lowell at the Mullins Center on Friday, Oct. 22.