BOSTON, Mass.--Behind goals from all four lines and three points from senior defenseman Rob Florentino (West Roxbury, Mass.), UMass Boston (8-2-1) skated to a 5-2 victory over Wentworth Institute of Technology (6-6-1) and their fourth straight appearance in the Codfish Bowl Championship Game.
With the victory, UMass Boston earned their 23rd appearance in Codfish Bowl Championship Game in 31 appearances, with the Beacons hoisting the trophy three times. The win raised UMB's unbeaten streak to seven games and helped extend the Beacons best start to a season since the 1981-82 team, who finished 24-3 and won the ECAC Division III Tournament.
UMass Boston will play Johnson & Wales University Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Clark Athletic Center Ice Arena.
The Beacons dominated the 48th Annual Codfish Bowl opener by racing out to a 3-0 lead and racking up a 42-21 shot advantage. Florentino was instrumental in building the lead, picking up assists on the first and third UMB goals and scoring his fourth goal of the season on the Beacons second tally. The senior defenseman leads UMass Boston with his career-high 14 assists and his 18 points this year tie his career mark from each of the past two seasons.
Mike DeGrazia (Novi, Mich.) scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season to move to within a goal of the national leaders. Freshman Frankie DeAugustine (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Jeremy Finger (Orlando, Fla.) each found the back of the net as well, while senior Tim Richter (Naugatuck, Conn.) picked up his 10th career goal.
For Wentworth, Devin Cobbold picked up his team-leading sixth goal of the season, while Patrick Rice added his second goal of the year.
In net, freshman netminder Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.) moved to 7-2-1 for the Beacons with 19 saves on 21 shots. Joel Miller made 16 stops on 17 shots for Wentworth in the third period, after junior Alex Peck allowed four goals on 25 shots in the first two stanzas.
UMass Boston showed no side effects to their 35-day layoff as they skated and executed well from the get go. The Beacons attempted six of the first seven shots, before DeGrazia put the Beacons on the board at the 14:37 mark of the first period. Sophomore defenseman John Houston (Pittsburgh, Pa.) sent a slicing pass from the point through the defense to Florentino down low; Florentino proceeded to skate in all alone and draw Peck out of position, before finding DeGrazia in front of the net for an easy tap-in.
The two teams would skate out the rest of the period with the same score, as UMass Boston held a slight 8-5 shot advantage.
Second period play would be much faster and action packed, as the two squads combined for four goals and two of the three penalties called in the game.
After Jordan Bourgonje was called for a 5-minute major for Elbowing, Florentino put the Beacons ahead 2-0 midway through the major penalty. The Beacons senior defenseman camped out just outside the left circle and received a cross-ice pass from Peter MacIntyre (Norfolk, Mass.), before one-timing the shot over Peck's shoulder.
Five minutes later Florentino and Finger made it a 3-0 game, when Florentino sent a two-line pass to Finger at the Wentworth blue line that allowed Finger to skate in all alone and bury the puck through Peck's pads.
Wentworth cut into the 3-0 deficit at the 15:06 mark, when Rice picked up a rebound off of Mike Cox's shot and beat Andrews just inside the post.
But the Beacons would answer right back, as DeAugustine surprised Peck with a turn-around, one-timer that found its way into the back of the net at the 18:37 mark of the second period.
UMass Boston continued to pressure Peck towards the end of the period, including a Steve Weston (Henniker, N.H.) shot from well outside the zone that caught the crossbar.
The Leopards defense held up better with Miller in net in the third, as the freshman made stop after stop. Richter managed to put one by Miller at 10:46, when Derek Colucci (North Scituate, R.I.) left a pass for a trailing Richter, who lifted it over Miller's shoulder from just outside the crease. Captain Tim Niedzielak (Chicago, Ill.) picked up an assist on the play as well.
Wentworth closed out the scoring with 50 seconds to play, when Cobbold skated between two Beacons defenders and blasted a shot into the upper right corner to make it 5-2.
The Beacons moved to 27-32-2 all-time in 31 appearances the Codfish Bowl Tournament, while Wentworth fell to 1-2 in two appearances.