BOSTON, Mass. – For the second time in less than a month UMass Boston toppled another giant in Division III men's ice hockey, as the Beacons managed to hold off a third period surge to upend the fourth ranked Spartans of Castleton State College by the final score of 5-4 Friday evening in the Clark Athletic Center Ice Arena.
Proving to be the deciding goal in the contest was Corey Chakeen's (Quincy, Mass.) even strength in the second period, which at the time made it 5-0 in favor of the Beacons (10-7-3, 6-6-1 ECAC East). Just like Castleton State (15-4-1, 10-2-1 ECAC East) in the third, UMass Boston opened up Friday's contest with a flurry of goals scoring four in the first 20 minutes of play.
Travis Daniel (North Brunswick, N.J.) would prove to be the spark to the Beacons offensive fire as the sophomore scored his seventh goal on the power-play just 5:32 into the game. Less than two minutes later Andrew Burke (Southampton, Pa.) made it a two-goal game on his seventh score of the year. Daniel would keep it going moments later with his second goal of the night.
The final goal of the first period was netted by Bryan Albert (Redlands, Calif.) just 42 seconds after Daniel's second. With a 4-0 lead going into the first intermission all the momentum was on the Beacons side. In the first period, UMass Boston outshot the Spartans 15-9.
After the break, Chakeen's early goal would keep the Beacons offense rolling despite not being able to find the back of the net for the remainder of the period. Helping to neutralize one of the most dominant teams in Division III men's hockey was a strong defensive effort headed by senior netminder Kevin Bendel (Denville, N.J.).
Bendel, who now has two wins against top-5 ranked teams (2-1 win over #1 Norwich U.) under his belt, held the Spartans scoreless for 40 complete minutes. During that time, the New Jersey native totaled 20 saves. Towards the end of the second period is when the momentum began to shit slightly in favor the visitors as they managed to narrowly outshoot the Beacons 11-10.
With the horn sounding to end the second the Beacons felt confident that this was their game to win, while Castleton was beginning to show signs of worry having surrendered more goals in 22 minutes of action then they have given-up all season.
Now into the third, the Spartans offense which ranks amongst the top in the country exploded with the help of some power-play opportunities. Castleton ended the Beacons shutout bid at the 2:47 mark of the third frame. They then made it a three-goal game less than two minutes later, than a two goal game just 1:49 after that. It became a one-goal game at the 11:51 mark when Cody Ayers drove home his fourth goal of the season.
With UMass Boston barely holding onto their lead and head coach Peter Belisle doing everything he can to hold his defense together the Beacons got a break with just over three left in the game in the form of a Castleton State interference call.
This gave UMass a man-up advantage for two of the final three minutes of play. Unfortunately that strategy lasted just over a minute as the Beacons were hit with a penalty of their own, which would give the Spartans the power-play for the remainder of the contest. On top of that they also pulled their goalie to give them a sixth-man on the ice.
However even with all the odds stacked against them the Beacons defense held strong and only allowed one shot to get through to Bendel before time would expire.
Castleton State, who entered the contest with one of the hottest goalies in Division III in Erick Cinotti, lasted less than 14 minutes in Friday's contest. Cinotti was handed the loss and fell to 8-4-1 on the season. Bendel recorded his sixth victory after coming up with 32 saves. Thomas Shelley closed out Friday's contest and surrendered two of the five goals cored and made 14 stops.
On the power-play UMass Boston was 1-for-3, while Castleton State ended 2-for-3 on the man-up advantage.
Men's Hockey hosts Skidmore College tomorrow at 4 p.m.