AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass hockey team saw its three-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday night with a 5-3 setback to #17 Denver at the Mullins Center. Following the loss, the Minutemen fall to 6-12-2 overall, while the Pioneers move to 10-6-3.
Redshirt junior Troy Power scored two of the three for UMass on the evening, his second career multi-goal game and second of the season to extend his point scoring streak to four straight with three goals and two assists over that span. Fellow captain senior Conor Sheary provided the other tally for the Minutemen, his 90th point of his career and team-best 14th of the season.
Seniors Joel Hanley, Branden Gracel, Michael Pereira and Adam Phillips all provided helpers in the contest, as did freshmen Steven Iacobellis and Ray Pigozzi. Gracel's assist marked his 80th career point, while Hanley's was his squad-leading 11th of the year to match his 2012-13 season total (11 in 33 games).
Denver quickly took a 1-0 lead in the contest as Gabe Levin flipped a shot from the slot over UMass netminder Steve Mastalerz 1:20 into the opening period off a feed out of the corner by Grant Arnold and Nolan Zajac.
The Minutemen responded, though, with a power-play goal midway through the stanza to tie the score at 1-1. Power redirected in a shot from the point by Phillips at the 9:38 mark. Iacobellis assisted the goal, as well.
Just 3:35 into the second period, the Pioneers regained the lead. After receiving the puck from Joey LaLeggia, Ty Loney flung a backhander past Mastalerz to put Denver up, 2-1.
The Pioneers then expanded the lead to 3-1 with a wrister by Trevor Moore from Loney that found the back of the net at the 8:01 mark.
Mastalerz later stopped Moore on a breakaway with 8:18 remaining in the second to keep the margin at two before UMass managed to pull back within striking distance at the close of the period. Gracel and Pereira set up Sheary's fourth of the season at the doorstep at 16:44.
However, with goals just one minute apart, Denver stretched the margin to 5-2 at the start of the third. Moore scored on a breakaway from Nick Neville and Daniel Doremus at 14:09. Doremus then converted on the power play 15:09 into the period from Zajac and Makowski.
Power completed the scoring at the 15:30 mark on an odd-man rush with Pigozzi that started from a breakout pass by Hanley.
UMass finished the contest with a 23-18 shot advantage and went 1-for-6 on the power play, while the Pioneers were 1-for-3. Mastalerz registered 13 saves for the Minutemen and Sam Brittain turned aside 20 in net for Denver.
UMass will break for the holidays and will resume action at the UConn Hockey Classic in Hartford, Conn., on Dec. 29 against #8 Quinnipiac at 4 p.m.