Amherst, MA – The Union Dutchmen arrived at the Mullins Center in search of their first victory of the 2019-20 season, coming in at 0-4. The Minutemen welcomed them with open arms. Having suffered a loss on Tuesday at Northeastern, Massachusetts was ready to make amends for it and that did not bode well for the young Union squad. Bobby Trivigno and Reed Lebster each had a pair of goals in a lopsided 6-1 Minutemen victory in front of 4,447 fans.
The Minutemen controlled play from the opening face-off and never looked back. UMass had pressure early and often, Ty Farmer deked out the defensive pairing and dished to Peyton Reeves who’s shot clanged off the post in the opening minutes. A flurry of action in front of Union goalie Darion Hanson led to a Tripping penalty on Colin Schmidt at 5:09. Teammate Christian Sanda was called for Hooking at 6:43 extending the Minutemen’s advantage. Matthew Kessel and John Leonard were each unable to get the puck past Hanson, who played a very solid first period. Hanson faced 15 shots in the period and stopped them all. Despite the Minutemen’s attack the first period ended scoreless.
The Minutemen lived up to their moniker in the second when Jack Suter fed Trivigno for his first of the night at the :37 mark. The duo entered the Union zone in a two on two but Trivigno put on the burners to get past Sean Harrison, Suter hit him in stride and Trivigno feathered the puck through the legs of Hanson. Union did have strong scoring opportunities, as evidenced by senior forward Zachary Emelifeonwu walking in on Murray after a face-off in the UMass zone, but Murray was solid again tonight.
Trivigno and the Minutemen struck again at 10:33 with a power play goal. Nifty passing by Farmer, on a behind the back dish, to Zac Jones, who then fired a cross ice pass to Trivigno just above the right face-off dot. Trivigno’s one-timed blast went through the legs of Hanson. Union looked to answer when Anthony Rinaldi set up Sam Morton in front on a backhand attempt that Murray blockered away. Morton would be rewarded at 14:05 when he scored on a delayed penalty to Anthony Del Gaizo, for Holding. Somehow Murray was knocked down on this play and Morton easily tapped the puck into the net for the lone Union goal.
At 19:50 Jones fired a wrist shot on net from the top of the right circle that was deflected past Hanson by Lebster for his first of the game. The Minutemen led 3-1 after two, and each team had 10 shots on the period giving UMass the 25-15 advantage.
The third period was when the game really broke open, and again it was quickly done. Off of the opening face-off Leonard split the defense and had a chance on goal. He ended up with the puck back on his stick a few seconds later and he beat Hanson five hole on a backhanded shot. 4-1 Massahusetts at :25 of the period. A mere :13 seconds later Jones wouldn’t need Lebster to deflect the shot from the blue line, when he fired a wrist shot top shelf, glove side that beat Hanson.
Even after giving up a fifth goal on the night, Coach Rick Bennett left Hanson in the game, that is until 16:08 when he decided to play freshman Merek Pipes. Just over a minute later Lebster would notch goal number two on the evening when he tipped a Colin Felix shot past Pipes.
The Minutemen held the Dutchmen to just two shots on goal in the third period. The last Union shot on goal was registered at 5:29. UMass outmuscled, outworked, outshot, and outplayed a Union squad still searching for an identity, and a win. 47-17 UMass in the shots on goal department, with each team winning the face-off battle 33 times.
Union’s Bennett was unavailable after the game for comment.
Massachusett’s coach Greg Carvel was pleased with his team’s overall performance. “Our first two games of the year were pretty uneven games,” said Carvel. “Tonight was a much better indication for me as a coach, of what this team can be.”
“We managed the puck real well and Union just kind of ran out of steam in the third. We were pretty dominant in the third period. We did a good job on special teams both ways, so we played much better tonight.”
The two teams square off again on Saturday night at the Mullins Center at 7:00 pm.