MASSACHUSETTS DEFEATS US UNDER-18 TEAM IN EXHIBITION, 5-2
Senior forward Conor Sheary registers goal and assist for Minutemen
AMHERST, Mass. - The UMass hockey team used an early first period power-play goal and four second period tallies to roll to a 5-2 exhibition victory over the U.S. Under-18 Team on Sunday afternoon at the Mullins Center.
The contest showcased balanced scoring by the Minutemen as five different players provided the afternoon's tallies with four individuals contributing multi-point outings. In his unofficial UMass debut, redshirt-freshman Frank Vatrano logged a goal and an assist, while redshirt-junior Troy Power and senior Conor Sheary each had a goal and an assist, as well. Senior Adam Phillips rounded out the group with two assists.
Just 4:01 into the contest, Vatrano made his presence known with the first goal of the day. After shots by Phillips and Power were both turned aside, Vatrano cleaned up the rebound at the right post to give the Minutemen a 1-0 lead.
UMass then broke the game open with four goals in just over 10 minutes in the second period. The stretch began with Sheary stripping a USA defender of the puck and driving in a wrister from the slot 3:50 into the stanza.
Vatrano started the play that led to the Minutemen's third of the contest, firing a centering pass from the corner to Phillips on the opposite wing. A quick pass from Phillips found Power at the doorstep to bring the score to 3-0 at the 9:31 mark.
Senior Branden Gracel's backhander from freshman Steven Iacobellis and Sheary exactly four minutes later pushed the margin to 4-0 and junior Mike Busillo completed the UMass scoring with his tally from the point at 14:04. Freshman Marc Hetnik earned the assist on Busillo's goal.
Team USA broke up the shutout in the third period. At the 7:38 mark, Jack Eichel finished off a goal from Ryan Bliss and Sonny Milano.
Anders Bjork later scored on the power play from Jack Grover and Dylan Larkin 16:40 into the final frame.
All three Minutemen netminders saw action in the contest with junior Steve Mastalerz seeing the bulk of the minutes (40:00) and turning aside all 12 shots he faced. Blake Weyrick played 34:04 for Team USA had 17 saves, while Edwin Minney was in net for the final 25:49 and had 11 stops.
UMass out-shot USA, 33-29 in the contest and was 1-for-3 on the power play.
The Minutemen will be back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 14, when the squad will host Western Mass. foe American International at 7 p.m. in the Mullins Center.