AMHERST, Mass. – Four consecutive second-period goals, including three on the power play, helped Massachusetts defeat the Michigan State hockey team, 5-2, on Saturday night at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. The Spartans grabbed a pair of early leads, but the Minutemen (2-2) were able to make good on four of their eight power-play opportunities in the game.
“Obviously their power play was exceptional and our penalty kill was poor tonight,” said MSU head coach Tom Anastos. “We didn’t have an answer for it and that was the difference in the game.”
MSU led 1-0 and then 2-1 after the first period on goals by Michael Ferrantino and Greg Wolfe, respectively.
“I thought we had way more energy tonight,” said Anastos. “We took too many penalties and our penalty killing was poor, but I thought there were other areas of our game that improved a lot from game one to game two. We certainly generated some good scoring chances around the net.”
Ferrantino got the first goal of the game at 4:58 of the first period. The sophomore made his way to the high slot on an odd-man rush and took a pass from Cox where he beat Minuteman goaltender Steve Mastalerz with a wrist shot from between the circles for a 1-0 MSU lead. David Bondra also drew an assist on the goal.
UMass tied the game just 2:01 later on a power play goal. Spartan goaltender Will Yanakeff made the stop on the initial shot by Ben Gallacher, but Steve Iacobellis was standing on the doorstep and jammed the puck into the net to knot the game at one.
The Spartans (0-2) regained the lead at the 17:06 mark of the first period with their first power play goal of the season. Good puck movement around the perimeter by the Spartans freed Wolfe on the left side as he took a perfect pass from Travis Walsh and beat Mastalerz with a one-timer.
The Green and White outshot UMass, 14-9, in the first period and controlled a majority of the play. The tide then shifted as UMass gained control of the game with four consecutive goals in the second period, three of which came on the power play.
“I thought (Mastalerz) came up with some big saves at important times,” said Anastos. “When you think of some of the scrums in front of their net, we could have had maybe two or three more goals in the first period. (Mastalerz) came up big and we only came away with a one-goal lead after the first period. They took all the momentum in the second period with all of their power play goals and that was a lot to overcome.”
The Minutemen got their first power play goal of the period as Joel Hanley’s shot from the point slipped past Yanakeff at the 7:28 mark to tie the game at two.
UMass’ lone even-strength goal of the period came at the 10:28 mark when Iacobellis got his second of the game to give UMass a 3-2 lead.
The Minutemen scored their third power-play goal of the game and second of the period with 6:26 to play in the second. The Spartans killed 37 seconds of a 5-on-3 UMass advantage, but with 31 seconds remaining in the second penalty, Adam Phillips scored from the right point to give the Minutemen a 4-2 advantage.
With Rhett Holland off for cross checking, Troy Power made it 5-2 as he put home a rebound from just outside the crease with 1:03 to play in the period.
In his first action of the season, Yanakeff made 28 stops. Mastalerz turned away 31 of the 33 shots he faced.
The Spartans will be back in action next weekend when they take on UMass Lowell (Friday) and Boston University (Saturday) at Munn Ice Arena.