AMHERST, Mass. - Freshman James Marcou scored a career-high three goals for his first career hat trick on Friday night in a 5-4 loss to Vermont for the No. 14 Mass Attack. The Catamounts jumped out to a 3-1 lead midway through the first period. Marcou netted two goals in the first period to cut the deficit to 3-2 and added the third with five seconds remaining in the game. UMass tied the game early in the second, but Vermont scored a pair of goals in the third period to ice the win. The teams will play again on Saturday night in the Mullins Center at 7 p.m.
Marcou's hat trick is the first by a UMass skater this season. The last Minuteman to score three-or-more goals in a game was Mark Matheson who scored three against Niagara last year.
The loss also snapped a 41-game unbeaten streak in games where UMass scored four-or-more goals. The Minutemen were 40-0-1 in those games dating back to March 14, 2003 when UMass fell to New Hampshire in the Hockey East Semifinals.
Friday's action started with a whirlwind first period with a season-high five goals scored between to the two teams.
Vermont jumped out first with a Viktor Stalber (1g, 1a) goal just 4:39 into the game. Marcou evened the score just 11 seconds later with his first goal of the game.
Wahsontiio Stacey (1g, 1a) and Brayden Irwin then scored consecutive goals to put the Catamounts up 3-1 at the 10:10 mark of the first period. Irwin's goal was a shorthanded score that came off a UMass turnover near the neutral zone.
Marcou put home a rebound goal with just under six minutes left in the first period after Justin Braun collected a loose puck at center ice and skated in for a shot between the cirles. Marcou tucked the rebound inside the left post cutting the deficit to 3-2 as the period expired.
The Minutemen tied the game five minutes into the second period with the only goal scored in the stanza. Jordan Virtue posted his third of the season and second in as many games to tie the game at 3-3.
Each team locked down defensively over the final 15 minutes of the second and the first 10 minutes of the third period before Vermont cracked the tie. Jack Downing and Colin Vock scored within a three minute span to give the Catamounts a 5-3 advantage.
Marcou scored with five seconds left to cut the lead to 5-4 and the Minutemen called a timeout to set up a final play off the ensuing faceoff. UMass pulled netminder Paul Dainton for the extra skater, but could not find magic as time expired.
Dainton made 16 saves for UMass while Vermont goalie Mike Spillane made 23 in the win. UMass outshot the Catamounts 27-to-21 for the game although neither team converted on the power play.
The two teams meet again on Saturday night in the Mullins Center. Opening face-off is set for 7 p.m.