Senior Mark Matheson nets hat trick for UMass

AMHERST, Mass.--The nineteenth-ranked Minutemen (7-3-2, 4-2-1 Hockey East) iced Niagara's (8-6-3, 4-1-3 CHA) seven game unbeaten streak on Friday, coming away with an impressive 6-2 win to open a jam-packed weekend of athletics at UMass. Mark Matheson came up with the hat trick, while Chris Capraro and Will Ortiz each had four points. The Mass Attack returns to action next Tuesday at Merrimack before the home-and-home against Boston College, with Friday's game being played in Amherst.

UMass struck first in the contest with Mark Matheson's fifth of the season, scored at 3:41. Chris Capraro made the pass to Matheson from behind the Niagara net, connecting at the top of the crease for the clear shot.

Niagara's Cliff Ketchen tied it up at 12:47 of the middle stanza, a wraparound on Jon Quick assisted by Chevan Wilson and Armando Scarlato. But Cory Quirk put the Minutemen up with just four seconds left in the second with his team-leading eighth goal of the season. His shot came from between the circles and was assisted by Will Ortiz and P.J. Fenton. Ortiz's point was his first since Nov. 4 at Providence.

The second intermission gave the Minutemen some life, as they combined for three goals in the first seven minutes-four total in the third-to break the game open. Fenton himself lit the lamp 20 seconds into the third, capitalizing on a Purple Eagle turnover and coming up with his fifth of the season.

Matheson scored his second goal of the game at 4:52 to make it 4-1, and Ortiz followed at 6:37, as he batted a Topher Bevis' rebound out of midair for the team's fifth goal. Matheson's hat trick was complete at 10:23, assisted by Oritz and Capraro.

The Purple Eagles added a power play goal at 18:58 to close out the scoring. Sean Bentivoglio tallied the goal assisted by Les Reaney and Ted Cook.

Overall, shots were 39-23 in favor of the home team. UMass was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Niagara went 1-for-4.