Buco's Late Marker Lifts #12/14 UMass Boston Past Southern Maine 3-2
BOSTON, Mass.—Junior Stephen Buco (North Providence, R.I.) scored a goal 12:04 into the third period to lift #12/14 UMass Boston Men's Hockey (15-4-3, 8-4-3 ECAC East) to a 3-2 victory over the University of Southern Maine (5-12-5, 4-9-2 ECAC East) Friday night at the Clark Athletic Ice Arena.
Buco's second game-winning goal in as many contests helped the Beacons reach the 15-win mark in back-to-back seasons for just the fourth time in program-history.
The Beacons' second-line of Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.), Kit Sitterley (Mooresville, N.C.) and Frankie DeAugustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.) each finished with two points on the day to help UMass Boston secure the season-sweep of the Huskies. Cody Dixon (Hales Corner, Wisc.) added a tally as well for UMass Boston.
Sophomore goaltender Billy Faust (Alta Loma, Calif.) stopped 33 shots en route to his fourth win in seven starts as a Beacon. The sophomore has now stopped 30 or more shots in six of his seven appearances in Beacons Blue and he improved to 3-0-1 at the Clark Athletic Ice Arena.
Mike Greene and Alex Pompeo each registered their fourth goal of the season for the Huskies, who were aiming for their second two-game winning streak of the season. Freshman goaltender Dylan Wells was extremely strong for the Huskies, stopping 37 of the 40 shots he faced.
Sitterley gave the Beacons an early 1-0 lead 3:34 into the contest after some nifty tic-tac-toe passing between Daniel and Sitterley. The two forwards passed the puck back-and-forth before Daniel, who was slowly circling along the far boards, sent a rocket pass across the ice to Sitterley who slammed home a one-timer just inside the near post.
Southern Maine was able to even the score at 1-1 with a short-handed goal 9:32 into the second. Greene's fore-check pressure caused a turnover right in front of the Beacons' net and Greene poked it past Faust's pads for a 1-1 tie.
The Beacons were able to grab the lead right back 35 seconds later, when Dixon and UMass Boston's second power-play unit converted for a 2-1 lead. This time it was Sitterley coming up with the nice set-up, as the sophomore forward fed a wide-open Dixon in the near circle; Dixon settled the puck and waited a moment, before wristing a shot just under Wells' armpit.
Mark Grinhaus (Scarsdale, N.Y.) nearly made it 3-1 less than five minutes later, but Grinhaus' breakaway chance was stopped by Wells and the rebound slid into the net, but only after the referee had ruled the net had come off its mooring.
The Huskies came up with the equalizer at 6:07 of the third period, as Pompeo wristed home a shot off of passes from Todd Bannerman & Ryan Seward.
With the score tied and under 10 minutes to play, Buco gave UMass Boston their third and final lead of the night with a beautiful low shot through traffic. Tyler Bishop (Ramsey, N.J.) found Daniel at center-ice and the senior captain brought the puck across the blue-line before leaving the puck off for a trailing Buco, who found the back of the cage for a 3-2 lead at the 12:04 mark.
Southern Maine had two power-play opportunities in the final seven minutes but failed to score on each, as the Beacons held the Huskies to an 0-for-3 mark on the power-play. UMass Boston ended the day 1-for-3 on the power-play and earned a 40-35 shot advantage.
UMass Boston will host the University of New England Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Beacons will honor their three seniors, Cam Harvey (Bow, N.H.), Grinhaus and Daniel, prior to the contest.