BOSTON, Mass. – Led by Jim Ennis' (Roslindale, Mass.) first collegiate hat trick UMass Boston men's hockey defeated the University of Southern Maine by the final score of 5-2 Saturday afternoon in the Clark Athletic Center Ice Arena.
The Beacons, who needed the two points to keep their postseason dreams alive, improved to 12-8-3 overall and 8-7-1 in the ECAC East. Southern Maine fell to 9-10-4 overall, 7-7-2 in the conference.
Ennis' game-changing performance capped off one of the most memorable senior games in recent memory in the Clark Athletic Center Ice Arena. The Roslindale native put the Beacons on the scoreboard in the first period at the 8:59 mark, when he was able to sneak the puck past Huskies goaltender Braely Torris. Assisting on the play was Mike DeGrazia (Novi, Mich.) and Bryan Albert (Redlands, Calif.).
That trio would connect less than 10 minutes later to give UMass Boston a 2-0 advantage before the first intermission. The opening period was fairly event with Southern Maine holding a slight advantage in shots (15-12).
After the break, things got a little crazy in the second with a slew of penalties being called throughout the period. At the midway point of the frame the Huskies took advantage of one of their power-play chances as Jamie Osborne made it just a one-goal game after driving home his fourth goal of the season.
However four minutes later the Beacons took advantage of their man-up opportunities as Rob Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.) scored his first of two goals in the contest. The junior defenseman made a great play in front of the goal to extend the Beacons lead back to two.
With less than two minutes to play in the second, Southern Maine got another key goal, this time from Ryan Seward to once again make it just a one goal game. His tally was the seventh of the season for him and was assisted by Dan Rautenberg and Lorne Miller.
The third period proved to be the most physical of them all as the two teams went all out looking for the next big goal. Luckily for the Beacons they would find it before their conference rival. Netting what would be the deciding goal was Ennis off of a DeGrazia pass at the 5:54 mark. Florentino added some additional breathing room on the scoreboard six minutes later on one of the nicest plays seen all season. The West Roxbury native brought the puck up the right side of the ice and then made a great move around the defenseman. With an open lane to the goal, Florentino flicked the puck to the near post where it beat out Torris. The goal marked his seventh of the year with the assists going to Chris Wyman (Bartlett, Ill.) and Ennis.
Between the pipes Torris totaled 27 saves, while senior Kevin Bendel (Denville, N.J.) totaled 35 stops to earn his seventh win of the year. On the power-play Southern Maine was 1-for-6, while UMass Boston was 1-for-3 on the day.
Prior to the start of the contest UMass Boston recognized it's nine senior members in Ennis, Albert, Wyman, Bendel, Bill Baker (Vancouver, B.C.), John Hubbard (Arlington, Texas), Anthony Fitti (Havertown, Pa.), Kyle Tejchma (Fruitport, Mich.), and Andrew Burke (Southampton, Pa.). The team also recognized the members of the 1981-82 team that were attendance as part of the 30th anniversary celebration of the Beacons first ECAC East conference title in school history.
Men's Hockey will travel to Norwich University on Friday for a 7 p.m. game.