DURHAM, N.H. — Massachusetts left the Whittemore Center after Friday’s beatdown and reexamined its penalty kill.
It came back with a new look last night, slowing New Hampshire’s power play to one goal on five chances and stopping a minute and a half two-man advantage late in the third period, forcing a 3-3 tie.
The Minutemen, though, weren’t able to convert on a five-on-thre of their own in overtime and left as the nation’s only team still winless, thanks in part to a Vermont win.
“It’s frustrating when you’re sitting here without any wins,” UMass coach Don ‘Toot’ Cahoon said. “I’m proud of our guys for going out there and battling though.”
Minutemen freshman first-liner Michael Pereira netted a pretty wrister from the slot with 1:02 remaining in regulation to give Massachusetts a 3-2 lead before breaking out into a full stretch dive at the blue line.
The Wildcats took the dive personally, and a reenergized group took to the ice and netted a goal 20 seconds later when defenseman Blake Kessel crashed the net, corralled a pass from Phil DeSimone and snuck a one-timer past goalie Paul Dainton.
“Obviously we didn’t like that,” Kessel said of the dive that Cahoon referred to as a “swim technique.” “We didn’t like that, but we shouldn’t let it happen. It’s hard not to notice when he practically does it in front of our bench. We wanted to come back and throw it in their face. If we could have scored in overtime, I would have dove like he did.”
The game was chippy from the get go, with both teams talking and pushing through whistles. Ten penalties were called, but only UNH’s Stevie Moses was able to capitalize on a man advantage, that coming at the end of the first period on a wrist shot.
On the goal, though, Cahoon claimed he saw UNH with six men on the ice.
“We have two guys on our bench watching for that,” he said. “It definitely happened. You can count them on the DVD. It was a great game, but it’s frustrating from our point of view when something like that happens.”
UNH got the scoring started just over four minutes in when UMass goalie Paul Dainton stopped a Paul Thompson breakaway, but fell to his right while making the save, setting up an easy put-back goal for Mike Sislo.
Two minutes later, though, freshman Adam Phillips poked a puck through Matt DiGirolamo for his first career goal.
Minutes later, as the chippy play picked up, Phillips picked up a five minute major for contact to Stevie Moses’ facemask and then received a game misconduct for continuing the altercation with Moses.
“Whenever you play a team in back-to-back games in this league, it gets a little more physical,” Kessel said.
Dainton stopped a career high 42 shots and didn’t allow a Wildcats goal in the second period, the first time UNH has been blanked in that frame all season.
UNH goalie Digirolamo turned aside 32 shots and helped kill off all five Wildcat penalties.
“That was kind of a crazy game at the end,” UNH coach Dick Umile said. “We went from having a five-on-three late to killing a five-on-three late. We had plenty of chances and didn’t score. We’ll take the one point and three for the weekend.”