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AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass hockey team opened the 2009-10 season with a 5-2 victory over the Rensselaer Engineers at the Mullins Center on Thursday night. James Marcou had four assists for the Minutemen, while Matt Irwin added two goals. Rocco Carzo netted his first collegiate goal in the win, the eventual game-winner. Paul Dainton made 28 saves in goal, while Allen York made 21 saves for Rensselaer. The Minutemen will return to the ice on October 16 when they will host defending national champion, Boston University, at 7 PM during Homecoming Weekend.
While RPI outshot the Minutemen 30-26 for the game, it was UMass who controlled the play during the second and third periods. Massachusetts went 4-for-10 on the power play, while the Engineers were 1-for-7 on the man-advantage.
The Engineers dominated statistically throughout the first period, outshooting UMass 16-6 and taking a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission. The Minutemen were awarded four power plays during the opening frame, but were unable to cash in on their man-advantages.
Rensselaer took an early lead with 3:27 remaining in the period when Tyler Henfrich notched his first goal of the season. After a flurry of shots on Dainton, Henfrich gathered a loose puck on the doorstep and lifted it past the UMass netminder for the score. The Minutemen had some chances as the period wore on, but York stood his ground to keep Massachusetts off the board.
UMass took control during the second period, scoring three times and outshooting RPI 15-9. The Minutemen cut it to a one-goal game three minutes into the second frame when UMass went on the power play. Justin Braun controlled the puck at the blueline and fed it down to Casey Wellman at the hash marks. Wellman then roofed a backhand shot over York's left shoulder for the goal.
Braun got a goal of his own eight minutes into the frame on a shot from the point, UMass' second power play goal of the night. After Wellman dished the puck to Irwin at the point, Irwin slid the puck across the blue line to his partner for the one-timer goal.
Carzo netted his first collegiate goal on a nice one-timer from Marcou midway through the stanza. Marcou collected a pass from T.J. Syner, and saucered it across to Carzo who slammed it past York for the score. The Engineers got one back late in the frame on Jerry D'Amigo's first of the season off a faceoff.
The Minutemen continued to dominate in the third period, scoring twice. The first came from Irwin on a booming shot from the top of the faceoff circle just 20 seconds into the frame. Marcou settled the puck behind the net before sending a quick pass to Irwin for the one-timer over York's right shoulder.
Irwin netted in second goal of the night with 10:36 to play in regulation on a similar play. Wellman and Marcou exchanged the puck down low, and Irwin crept just above the faceoff dot to send another rocket past York to close out the scoring.