By Josh Brown
In Hockey East only one thing is certain. Anybody can win on any given night.
That was certainly the case Friday night as the Umass-Amherst Minutemen (8-16-4) defeated the Northeastern Huskies (16-9-3) 3-0 in convincing fashion on a night where they out-shot the Huskies 48-27.
“It’s fun when you feel good about the process, and when the end result matches how you feel about the 60 minutes prior to it,” Minutemen Head Coach John Micheletto said after the win.
Despite getting 17 shots on Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt in the first period as opposed to the 5 the Huskies were able to get on Minutemen net-minder Steve Mastalerz, neither team put a puck in the back of the net, as the teams headed into the locker room deadlocked at 0-0. The Huskies got two opportunities on the power play but were not able to get a shot on net in that span.
The second period was all Minutemen from the get go as they out-shot the Huskies 22-8 in a frame which featured goals from freshman Marc Hetnik and senior captain Conor Sheary.
Hetniks’ goal, the first of his collegiate career, came at 1:33 in the period on a helper from Zach LaRue and Steve Mastalerz. Sheary capitalized on a Northeastern turnover when he received a pass from Adam Phillips to score the shorthanded goal.
“It felt great,” Hetniks’ said of the goal, “It’s always good to get the first one out of the way.”
In the third period Northeastern played with a little hop in their step, out-shooting Umass 14-9, but the only goal of the period was an empty-net game sealing goal by Branden Gracel to end any hopes of a comeback by the Huskies.
“Umass was a much better team than we were,” Huskies Head Coach Jim Madigan stated, “They were a lot faster, they thought the game faster, we didn’t respond, they wanted it more, we didn’t play with a sense of urgency. There was two big points at stake here and we didn’t respond.”
When asked why Northeastern could not keep up with the speed of Umass, Madigan could not seem to find an answer.
“That’s a great question,” Madigan continued, “It’s all over our board. I’ll line you up 21 players you can ask them, I have no idea. We talked about it all week long.”
The loss for Northeastern comes after a first round 6-0 Beanpot victory over Harvard. The Huskies will face Boston College in the championship game Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the TD Garden.