Freshman forward K.J. Tiefenwerth had a goal and two assists for the Minutemen
BOSTON, Mass. - Despite another two-goal performance from freshman Kevin Roy, the Northeastern men's hockey team (5-8-1, 3-7-1 Hockey East) was overpowered by Massachusetts (5-6-2, 4-6-1 Hockey East), 6-3, on Friday night at Matthews Arena.
The Minutemen registered five goals and an empty-netter to skate by the Huskies, outshooting Northeastern, 46-35.
Roy potted the first goal of the game on the power play and added another in the middle of the second period. Junior Braden Pimm picked up a pair of assists on the night while newcomer Dustin Darou pieced together his first collegiate point streak with assists in consecutive nights.
Senior goaltender Chris Rawlings stopped 40-of-46 UMass shots to fall to 5-4-0 while UM's Kevin Boyle stopped 32 shots in his fifth victory of the season.
Pimm put the Minutemen on their heels early with a quick breakaway near the circles at the 5:45 mark of the first period. Boyle made the stop, but the Huskies built their momentum and scored quickly after on the power play at 6:06.
Conor Sheary went off for holding at 5:56 and on the ensuing draw and the puck was kicked back to sophomore Ludwig Karlsson on the blue line. Karlsson chipped the puck over a pair of UMass defenders over to Pimm in the far corner. Pimm made a quick cradle and zipped the disc across the zone to Roy on the far post. Roy took his time and ripped the wrist shoot past an unaccompanied Boyle for the power play marker and a 1-0 lead.
After a sophomore Joseph Manno penalty (6:35) subsided, Massachusetts tied it up on a quick draw play at 15:08.
Steven Guzzo beat Roy on a faceoff to Rawlings' right and actually fell to the ice, but as he slipped, he managed to slide the puck over to Rocco Carzo all along on the doorstep. Carzo easily lifted the puck past Rawlings to tie it up, 1-1.
As the first period was coming to a close, the Minutemen slipped in another off the draw once again. Branden Gracel won the draw out to Joel Hanley behind the blue line. Hanley let loose a slap shot that hammered his teammate, K.J. Tiefenwerth, in between the circles. The puck fortuitously dropped in prime position for a grade-A shot and Tiefenwerth zipped it over Rawlings' glove to grab a 2-1 lead at 19:40 before intermission.
Manno took another penalty at 2:15 of the second frame, but UMass never came close with the extra skater. NU turned up the intensity and came at Boyle in droves throughout the middle portion of the period and the Huskies eventually tied it up at 11:35.
Rookie Mike McMurtry won a battle along the far boards and lifted it off the boards where senior Vinny Saponari was waiting to corral the puck in the far corner. Once again, Roy slipped behind the defense and was alone on the near post to bury the one-timer pass from Saponari past an outstretched Boyle to craft another tie, 2-2.
Massachusetts responded to recoup the lead once again at 13:58 of the second period. Anthony Raiola triggered the scoring play with a shot from the top of the zone. Guzzo parked himself in between the circles and batted the attempt down to the ice where Carzo was waiting to clean up the loose garbage in front of Rawlings to make it a 3-2 game.
The Minutemen started to pull away in the third period when Adam Phillips netted his first goal of the season at 5:28.
Kevin Czipel applied a vicious hit on the boards in Northeastern's zone and Patrick Kiley swooped in and stripped the puck out of the scrum. Kiley kicked it back to a streaking Phillips on the doorstep and he maneuvered around Rawlings to grab a 4-2 lead.
A minute and a half later, Gracel was the catalyst for UMass' fifth goal after pitchforking it out to Tiefenwerth in the neutral zone. Tiefenwerth whirled around and connected with Hanley in perfect position for a wrister past Rawlings at 6:54 for a 5-2 cushion.
Vrolyk closed the gap at 14:21 on a hard-working goal in front with help from Pimm and Darou. Pimm flipped the puck over to Darou along the boards and Vrolyk swooped in, stole it and crashed the net on Boyle. Vrolyk's momentum helped carry the puck over the line to help the Huskies inch within two, 5-3.
Michael Pereira put the game out of reach with an empty-net goal at 17:41 to close out the 6-3 victory for UMass.
The Huskies do not return to Matthews Arena until the turn of the calendar year, but before NU retreats for the holiday break, Northeastern travels to UMass Lowell next Saturday for a 7 p.m. tilt with the River Hawks at the Tsongas Center.
• Kevin Roy turned in his second two-goal performance of the season and his first since netting a pair at Vermont on Nov. 18. Roy has five multi-point games in 14 outings and leads the team with 13 points (7-6-13).
• Dustin Darou strung together his first point streak with an assist on Robbie Vrolyk's goal in the third period.
• Braden Pimm posted two assists for the second time this season. His first also occurred at Vermont on Nov. 18.