From The Daily Collegian
By Mike Maynard
The Massachusetts club hockey team suffered a tough loss to begin the UMass Showcase, dropping its first game of the weekend 4-3 to Florida Gulf Coast (6-2.)
The Minutemen (9-5) had a strong start but couldn’t continue it throughout the game. The action was back-and-forth with the score being tied four different times.
Even with being outshot and spending a lot of time in the defensive zone, the Minutemen were able to keep the game close. The two teams entered the final four minutes of play tied 3-3.
The pressure from Florida Gulf Coast proved to be too much, as with three minutes left in the game, a hard wrist shot from the slot trickled by the goal line to give the Eagles the lead.
UMass would be given a great chance at tying the game as the Eagles took a penalty with one minute left in regulation and the Minutemen pulled their goaltender to give them a 6-on-4 for the final minute.
The time on the clock was not enough as UMass couldn’t find the back of the net. The goaltenders for both teams were put to the test throughout all three periods, as both teams had 35+ shots on goal by the end of the game.
The first period was strong for UMass, outshooting the Eagles. The forecheck put on constant pressure and led to a multitude of good opportunities and a goal.
The first goal of the game for the Minutemen came from forward Shawn Leslie finishing off a rebound from a point shot. The pressure in front of the Eagles net created the opening. UMass came out with a chip on its shoulder early on, using the body to get the puck off defenders and create chances for the offense.
The Minutemen were unable to hold the lead and saw less use of physicality during the second period. The lack of hitting was detrimental to UMass giving up two goals in the 20 minutes, and leaving the period tied 2-2.
“We won the first period,” captain Scott Shorrock said. “It seemed like in the second period that [physicality] started to slow down a little bit. Coming back into the third it seemed like we kind of woke up, but just a couple of times losing that edge lost us the game.”
The offensive opportunities for UMass became more infrequent as the game went on. Instead of the forecheck creating the chances in the first period, all the opportunities came off the rush out of the defensive zone.
“It’s a quick turnaround, less than 24 hours,” assistant coach Anthony Laperriere said. “So just forget about it. Go about tomorrow and play like we did in the first but for the full 60 and we’ll be fine.”
The Minutemen will look to bounce back and encapsulate all that made the first period great in their next game. They will be back in action for game two of the UMass showcase at home against UNH on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m.
(Originally published at https://dailycollegian.com/2022/11/umass-club-hockey-drops-the-first-game-of-the-umass-showcase-to-florida-gulf-coast/)