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AMHERST, Mass. - Michael Pereira scored two goals and Branden Gracel had a goal and two assists to lead the UMass Hockey team (1-6-3, 1-3-3 HEA) to a 4-1 over Vermont (1-5-3, 1-4-2 HEA) on Tuesday night at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen exploded for three goals in the second period and received all four goals from freshmen as Adam Phillips also scored for the Mass Attack. Paul Dainton was a rock in goal for UMass, making a career high 44 saves to backstop UMass including 18 stops in the third period to preserve the win. Massachusetts will be back in action this Saturday when the Minutemen will play host to Quinnipiac at 7 PM from the Mullins Center.
Freshmen stole the show for the Mass Attack on Tuesday, accounting for seven of the team's 10 total points on the night. Vermont nearly doubled up the Minutemen in shots, holding a 45-25 advantage while UMass won the battle in the faceoff circle, 38-24. Massachusetts went 1-for-6 on the power play and the Catamounts were 0-for-5.
Dainton held the Catamounts at bay during the first period, turning away all 13 shots thrown at the senior netminder. The Catamounts had two power play opportunities during the opening stanza, throwing six shots on goal by collapsing in on Dainton from all angles. UMass went on an abbreviated power play 6:04 to play in the frame, and Brian Keane nearly put the Minutemen on the board when he took a pass from in between the faceoff dots and ripped a low one-timer that Madore just got a piece of and steered into the corner.
Beginning the second period with a power play, the UMass offense exploded for three goals in the first eight minutes while Dainton kept the Vermont offense quiet with 13 stops at the other end of the ice. UMass was awarded three power plays during the frame resulting from some persnickety play from the Catamounts after three straight scores.
T.J. Syner got things started in the first 30 seconds of the period when he capitalized on a misplay by Madore, catching the Catamount goaltender out of the crease. Syner flew around the net and spotted Pereira crashing towards the cage, where he then fed Pereira with the pass for the score.
The Mass Attack made it 2-0 four minutes later when Phillips scored the first goal of his career when he redirected a shot from Gracel at the point. Phillips was stationed in the middle of the shooting lane, and was able to get a stick on the puck as it was sent into traffic.
Gracel potted a goal of his own with 12:23 to play in the period when Syner took a puck from the left side of the ice, sent it into the slot to Gracel, who fired a wrist shot through Madore for his second goal of the season.
Vermont peppered Dainton in the third period with 19 shots, and ended the shutout bid by scoring 47 seconds into the frame when Jack Downing collected a loose puck in the neutral zone, went in alone on Dainton and lifted a backhander over Dainton's left shoulder for his third goal of the year.
Pereira put the Minutemen up by three once again midway through the period when he took a pass from Chase Langeraap and deposited a wrist shot through Madore and into the right side of the goal.