Amherst, MA – Despite having a depleted roster, the University of Massachusetts Minutemen blanked the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 3-0 on Friday night at the Mullins Center. 4,363 in attendance witnessed senior captain Bobby Trivigno carry the Minutemen offensively with two goals while graduate student Matt Murray recorded his 13th career shut-out, a UMass record.
The Minutemen came into the game with four of their regular forwards out of action due to injury. Senior defenseman Ty Farmer skated on the third line as a right-winger. Trivigno skated with two freshmen, Lucas Mercuri and Ryan Lautenbach.
The Minutemen took the game to the visiting Wildcats early and often, but New Hampshire weathered the storm.
A holding penalty on New Hampshire defenseman Alex Gagne at 7:50 put the Minutemen on the power play. Trivigno put the Minutemen ahead with a one-timer from the slot at 8:47. Defenseman Scott Morrow carried the puck into the Wildcats zone and dished to Reed Lebster. Lebster fired a pass back to Trivigno from down low, and Trivigno buried it past David Fessenden (24 saves) in the Wildcats net.
The Wildcats found their legs towards the end of the period when they had a few shifts with sustained pressure on Murray in the Massachusetts zone.
UMass continued to carry the play in the second period. Fessenden was solid in goal for the Wildcats as he turned back 13 shots on goal and survived a High-Sticking penalty on defenseman Luke Reid. The junior goalie, formerly of Alabama-Huntsville, was tremendous in net for New Hampshire.
The Wildcats offense had a few quality chances on Murray during the first two periods, but only one came close to getting past the graduate student. A shot by UNH’s Chase Stevenson from the right circle that Murray got a piece of and then trickled slowly past the far post before being recovered by a Minuteman defender. UMass held UNH to one shot on goal during the second period.
In the third period, the Wildcats threw all they could at Murray, tallying a dozen shots on goal. UNH had a power-play opportunity at 13:32 when Matt Baker high-sticked a UNH player after the whistle. UMass held UNH to just one shot on goal during their penalty kill.
Senior defenseman Colin Felix made it 2-0 Minutemen when he blasted a slapshot by a UNH’s Stevenson and beat Fessenden with a shot from the top of the right circle at 17:59. The goal was Felix’s second of the year.
UMass used their timeout after an icing call against them at 18:51. A few seconds later, Trivigno’s second goal of the game was the icing on the Minutemen cake at 19:17.
“Congratulations to UMass, It’s tough to win when you don’t score a goal,” said UNH coach Mike Souza. “I know they (UMass) faced some adversity this week with some key guys out, so Greg (Carvel) can be proud of his group. I thought they were resilient. They didn’t give us much early. I thought we had a good puck late but not good enough.”
“That was a good, solid game for us. We were really short-handed,” said Carvel. “We needed to be very strong defensively. I thought in the first two periods, the guys played great. They probably could have capitalized a little more on chances in the first two periods. UNH was the better team in the third. But these guys did a great job. We killed a late penalty. That’s a terrible penalty to take at that time of the game, especially with a one-goal lead.”
“Matt (Murray) was solid; the team played solid in front of him,” added Carvel. “I wish they would have managed the puck a little better, but it was a good, solid victory when you’re missing four good forwards to win 3-0. I’ll take that.”
The two teams square off again on Saturday night at the Whittemore Center on the UNH campus in Durham, NH.