HAMDEN, Conn. - UMass hockey held an early first period lead, but six unanswered goals by No. 5 Quinnipiac, including three on the power play, lifted the Bobcats past the Minutemen, 6-1 on Saturday night at High Point Solutions Arena. Following the setback, UMass is 3-10-2 on the year, while Quinnipiac improves to 13-2-2.
Senior Michael Pereira provided the lone tally of the night for the Minutemen, his 46th of his career to move into sole possession of eighth on the UMass all-time career goals list. Senior co-captain Conor Sheary logged his team-leading eighth assist and 10th point of the year, while senior Branden Gracel recorded an assist, as well, his third of the season.
UMass was on the board early with Gracel and Sheary setting up Pereira with some crisp passes on the rush. Pereira buried his fourth of the season from the slot at the 3:42 mark.
The Bobcats responded, though, with the equalizer 1:46 later. Zach Tolkinen picked up the puck off a UMass turnover and sent it over to Sam Anas who fed Kellen Jones for a shot high over the shoulder of goaltender Steve Mastalerz from the left faceoff circle.
Quinnipiac later took a 2-1 lead just 15 seconds into the first power play of the night for either squad. Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Tolkinen set up Bryce Van Brabant's tally 16:42 into the opening period.
Then in the second, the Bobcats used a pair of power play goals to break the game open, 4-1. The first by Travis St. Denis at 9:21 and the second by Anas at 10:22, shortly after Mastalerz was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct.
Connor Jones and Brayden Sherbinin added the final two tallies for Quinnipac at 10:26 and 13:15 of the third period, respectively.
The Bobcats finished with a 34-10 advantage in shots and went 3-for-10 on the power play. The Minutemen were 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Mastalerz had 13 saves for UMass and freshman Mac Haight, playing the final 30:09, recorded 15 stops. Michael Garteig registered nine saves for Quinnipiac.
The Minutemen will be back in action on Friday, Nov. 6, when the squad will make the trip to South Bend, Ind., for its first Hockey East series against #11/10 Notre Dame, beginning with a 7:35 p.m. matchup on NBC Sports.