BOSTON -- Michael Marcou's power goal with 22.3 seconds left in overtime powered Massachusetts to a 3-2 victory over Vermont in the opening game of 2012 Sunlife Frozen Fenway Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Marcou, a senior defenseman, punched in a rebound of his own shot from the point in a goalmouth scramble to end the hard fought game between the two border rivals. Conor Sheary and Danny Hobbs picked up assists as the Minutemen (7-8-5, 3-6-4 Hockey East) won for the first time in seven overtime contests this season (1-1-5).
Vermont's improved power play generated two goals for the fifth game this season and the second time in its last three games but could not cash in on three third period attempts including a five-minute power play that extended into overtime. The Catamounts went 2-for-7 for the game with a man advantage while Marcou's goal was UMass's lone power play tally in four attempts.
UVM's Sebastian Stalberg had the best scoring opportunity in the early going when his partial breakaway was turned aside by Massachusetts goaltender Jeff Teglia. At 9:38, Stalberg and Drew McKenzie set up Kyle Reynolds on the power play for the game's first goal. Stalberg's initial shot was blocked before McKenzie flipped the puck toward the crease where Reynolds rapped it home for his seventh goal of the season, and his fourth in the last six games. The early lead lasted just 15 seconds as sophomore Eric Filiou countered for the Minutemen beating UVM goalie Rob Madore. Patrick Kiley and Colin Shea picked up assists on Filiou's first goal of the season.
The Minutemen took their first lead 1:10 into the middle period when Hobbs, a senior, skated down the leftwing and snuck a wrist shot past Madore for his sixth of the season. Vermont cashed in again with an extra skater at 7:10 as McKenzie, from just outside the crease, redirected Stalberg's pass from the right boards for his sixth of the season. Four of the Vermont senior defenseman's goals have come against league foes and he extended his point streak to six games.
Hobbs goal-assist outing was his fifth multi-point game this year and Stalberg, who set up both UVM goals, now has seven. The junior forward also has a point in six straight games a stretch where he has had a hand in 10 of UVM's last 15 goals (two goals, eight assists).
The Minutemen finished with a 28-26 edge in shots on goal for the contest and a 5-2 advantage in the extra session. Teglia made 12 of his 24 stops after the second period. Madore finished with 25 saves for the Catamounts 4-15-1, 1-11-1) who lost their fifth straight league game since beating UMass in Burlington back on November 22, 2011.
Game-time temperature was 58 degrees following an afternoon high of 60, three degress short of the 1930 all-time Jan. 7 record for Boston. It was roughly twice the game-time temperature of the first Sun Life Frozen Fenway game on Jan. 8, 2010, when there was a light wind-swept snow falling for much of the game. There was also a couple of inches of snow covering the Fenway infield and outfield in 2010, whereas today's field looked eerily ready for Red Sox Opening Day.
Even hotter than the weather is Vermont junior centerman Sebastian Stalberg, who notched his sixth multiple-point game in his last nine contests with a pair of assists, both on the power play.
Minuteman center Eric Filiou picked a big stage to notch the first goal of his sophomore season, potting an equalizer just 15 seconds after Vermont scored the opener. It was also just the second goal of his 40-game career. His only other goal came on Dec. 4, 2010, a 5-2 win at UMass Lowell.
UMass winger T.J. Syner had his second 7-game point streak of the season come to an end as he was held off the scoresheet for the first time since the Minutemen were shut out at UMass Lowell on Nov. 19. He had at least one point in 14 of the 15 games prior to tonight.
The last time UMass notched an overtime victory over Vermont was Dec. 4, 1971, more than 40 years ago, after doing it twice in 1970. Since that last UMass victory, the teams had gone to OT eight times, with Vermont emerging victorious on four occasions and the teams skating to a tie in the four others.