January 7, 2014

#15 Men's Hockey Freezes Salem State 4-2 At Fenway

FENWAY PARK, Mass.—Peter MacIntyre's (Norfolk, Mass.) second tally of the evening proved to be just enough, as #15 UMass Boston men's hockey (10-1-2) downed Salem State University (7-5) 4-2 Tuesday afternoon as part of the Citi Frozen Fenway event.

The Beacons and Vikings, both playing for the first time at Fenway Park, met for the first time since 2009, renewing their former ECAC East rivalry. With the win, UMass Boston earned their first victory over the Vikings since 1999 and moved to 11-32-1 all-time against Salem State.

MacIntyre led UMass Boston with two goals on the night to help the Beacons match their longest unbeaten streak in program-history at 11 games (9-0-2). The streak matches the 1981-82 team's 11-0 stretch from December 5, 1981 to January 30, 1982.

Kit Sitterley (Mooresville, N.C.) recorded the Beacons' second tally of the night, while Connor McStravick (Philadelphia, Pa.) put the game away with an empty-net goal with 8.7 seconds remaining.

Sophomore goalie Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.) shined in net for UMass Boston all night long, making 34 saves on 36 shots. The Florida native was especially key in the first period where he stopped all 15 shots he faced, as the Beacons got off to an extremely slow start.  

Senior Eric Defelice and Chris Mastropietro recorded Salem State's two markers, with both goals coming in the second period. In net, Ryan Sutliffe posted 29 saves on 33 shots, before being pulled with 26 seconds in the contest.

Facing temperatures in the low teens with the wind chill well below zero, the Beacons and Vikings struggled to get anything going in the first stanza, as the two teams slowly adjusted to the ice snow and bouncing pucks.

Salem State created the better end of the chances throughout the first 15 minutes, with Andrews diving all over the crease to keep the Vikings off the board.

Sophomore Mike Miller (Wrentham, Mass.) began the shift in momentum for the Beacons when he rifled a shot past Sutliffe that rang off the post, before drawing the first penalty of the game against either team moments later.

While the Beacons failed to take advantage of the power-play, they carried the momentum into the second period.

MacIntyre lit the lamp at 2:44 of the second period when he finished with a nifty shot to the far post to beat Sutliffe on a 2-on-1 rush. The reigning ECAC East Rookie of the Year swiped the puck away from Gabriel Cromp who was winding up for a slap-shot from the point and went the other way with senior captain Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.). After showing pass the entire rush, MacIntyre sent a laser just pass Sutliffe's blocker for a 1-0 Beacons advantage.

The lead wouldn't last long though, as Defelice's goal at 6:32 evened the game at 1. The senior forward sent a hard shot from just inside the Beacons' blue line, that Andrews lost in Fenway's red seats to make it 1-1.

UMass Boston would grab the lead back at 2-1 behind a terrific individual effort from Sitterley. The sophomore forward's initial wrap-around attempt was denied by Sutliffe, but when the referees didn't immediately give the goalie the whistle for a stoppage, Sitterley's second stab at the puck slid just over the line for a goal at 10:41.

Mastropietro knotted the scoring at 15:58 on another goal that Andrews could do little about. Skating with their third power-play chance of the game, Mastropietro received passes from Brandon Platt and Cameron Banwell, before sending a low shot that skipped off a Beacons' defenseman's stick and over Andrews glove for a 2-2 tie.

That set up a dramatic third period with both teams' legs beginning to lag. UMass Boston took advantage of the wind to begin the period as Daniel set up MacIntyre for a nifty goal. The Beacons' senior captain took the puck from behind the net and sent a backhand pass that deflected off a defenseman's stick, before MacIntyre could bat it home, just over Sutliffe's shoulder.

Salem State would try everything they could to even the score, but UMass Boston's defenseman stood strong, especially during a penalty-kill with under seven minutes to go.

McStravick put any Vikings' comeback hope to an end with 8.7 seconds to go, when the scrappy fourth-liner sent a back-hand from just over his blue line into the net, while absorbing a huge hit.

UMass Boston will continue their thrilling start to 2014 when they host #5 Norwich University Friday night in ECAC East play.