MASSACHUSETTS EDGED BY AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL, 3-2
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass hockey team out-shot American International, 59-18, but Yellow Jackets' netminder Hunter Leisner turned aside 57 to lead AIC past the Minutemen, 3-2 on Tuesday evening at the Mullins Center. Following the loss, UMass sits at 6-15-3, while American International improves to 6-14-0.
Senior Michael Pereira and redshirt junior Steven Guzzo both provided the tallies for the Minutemen in the setback. Pereira's was his 48th of his career and 18th career power-play goal to rank sixth and tied for third in UMass history, respectively.
Following a scoreless opening period, UMass struck for the first goal of the evening on its only power play in the contest 5:13 into the second. Pereira drove home a shot from the right faceoff circle from senior Adam Phillips at the point and freshman Steven Iacobellis in the corner to put the Minutemen on top, 1-0.
However, the Yellow Jackets converted on their only two shots on target in the second stanza to pull in front, 2-1. Jason Popek collected a long outlet pass from Blake Peake and sent a wrister over the shoulder of UMass goaltender Steve Mastalerz at the 7:22 mark.
Then at 11:54, Mike Dietrich scored from the high slot after Nathan Sliwinski and Brandon Fagerheim won the puck along the wall in the neutral zone.
The Minutemen tied the score at 2-2 early in the third as Guzzo banged home a rebound from freshman Brandon Wahlin and sophomore Shane Walsh at the 4:46 mark.
AIC responded, though, as Alexander MacMillan scored the game winner on an odd-man rush from David Norris and Jon Puskar 14:40 into the final frame.
UMass won 39-of-69 faceoffs in the contest and held the Yellow Jackets to a 0-for-2 night on the power play. Mastalerz finished with 15 saves in the setback.
The Minutemen will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 24, when the squad will play host to Merrimack at 7 p.m. in the Mullins Center.