By Arpeni Mael, Editor-in-Chief
There were only 1.9 seconds remaining in the overtime period when senior captain, Mike Kelly, shot the puck into the upper corner of the net, giving the men’s ice hockey team the victory.
The team opened their 2016-2017 season on Tuesday, November 1, against Worcester State at Hetland Ice Arena in what could have been a tied game.
The season opener was also a debut for the new head coach, Eric Noack. Noack previously served as the men’s ice hockey head coach at Johnson & Wales University for the past 13 seasons.
“It was our season opener and we just wanted to make sure that we did the little things right,” said Kelly about the team heading into their first game. “It starts in practice, paying attention to detail was key. We made sure everyone was on the same page and made it our goal to get 2 points.”
The puck was dropped against a faceoff by Nick Patullo and Casey Shea.
The Corsairs were the first to find their way to the scoreboard at 6:04 when Jerry Laakso helped assist Mike Sones with his first goal of the season. But it didn’t take the Lancers too long to find a way to tie the game.
Mitchell Purdie was able to shoot the puck past goalkeeper, Drew Michals, thanks to an assist from teammate Cris Villarreal.
Quick on the ice, Sones was able to find his way to the back of the net again. Fourteen seconds left before the first period ended, Casey Shea helped assist Sones’ second goal of the night.
At 13:15 of the second period, the Lancers tied the game again thanks to Connor McKenzie.
Shea was able to help assist Laakso with his first goal of the season at 17:58. The 3-2 lead lasted only 24 seconds for the Corsairs as Kyle Griffin was able to tie the game up once again.
The third period was similar to the first two. Sones registered his first collegiate hat trick at the 2:15 marker. Laakso and senior captain, Matt Baldino, helped assist.
Unfortunately, the 4-3 lead didn’t last for UMass Dartmouth. Cody Slocum kept fighting for the puck in front of Michals, where it eventually found its way into the net.
With the game now tied at 4-4 and ten minutes left to go, both teams tried their best to score.
Goalkeeper Tyler Fallica was able to keep out the shots for the remainder of the period, as well as Michals.
The buzzer sounded, indicating the end of the period and the game went into overtime.
In the overtime period, Joe Echelmeier went back and forth until he found Kelly to connect the cross-ice pass mid-stride for the game-winning goal.
“It was a great feeling,” said Kelly about his goal. “I had no idea how much time was left on the clock but I saw Worcester changing so I waned to get to a spot where I could catch them off guard. We really needed that win to give us some confidence moving forward.”
Michals made 47 saves for UMass Dartmouth in just under 65 minutes of ice time.
Fallica registered 29 stops between the pipes despite the Lancers loss.
Even though Worcester State outshot UMass Dartmouth 51-34, UMass Dartmouth was able to hold the slight advantage on face-offs winning 47-45.
UMass Dartmouth also went 3-8 on the power play, while Worcester State went 3-10.
The Lancers put up a good fight, but despite their best efforts, the Corsairs took home the win in the MASCAC conference event.
The men’s ice hockey team didn’t stop there. The Corsairs traveled to UMass Boston on Saturday, November 5, for a non-conference game.
The No. 3-ranked Beacons shut the door as they hosted their first home game of the season, skating to a 6-0 win.
UMass Boston found the net early, as Colin Larkin took advantage on the power play. He scored on a one-timer, beating Michals to the near post.
Before the end of the first period, the Beacons scored another goal.
With five minutes left, Drew Gannon found the back of the net to extend the lead to 2-0. His scoring streak continued into the second period.
After, Dakota Keene received the pass from Daniel Nachbaur mid-stride and shot the puck between the pipes.
UMass Boston showed no signs of stopping. In the third period, Derek Caruso was able to break free from the Corsair defense and score a shorthanded goal on the backhand.
Michals, who was sprawled out, did his best to stop the goal.
With 2:41 left in the game, the Beacons added one more goal as Bryan Carter found the back of the net.
Michals registered a season-high of 51 stops for the Corsairs. This is the second-highest save total of his career, with 55 saves against Babson taking the lead from last season.
Goalkeeper Jordan Bustard recorded his first collegiate shutout after turning aside 17 shots.
UMass Boston outshot UMass Dartmouth 51-17, and won 44 out of 72 face-offs.
The Beacons went 2-4 on their power play chances, as the Corsairs went 0-4.
Shea led the way for the Corsairs offense as he fired three shots on net and won 12 face-offs.
The Corsairs will return to the ice on November 10 at 7:30 p.m. to host Plymouth State on Military Appreciation Night.