November 30, 2013

Men's Hockey Advances To Manchester P.A.L./Stovepipe Classic Championship Game

MANCHESTER, N.H.--UMass Boston men's hockey used three second-period goals scored within five minutes of each other to advance to the Manchester P.A.L./Stovepipe Tournament for the sixth straight season, with a 3-1 win over Johnson & Wales University (5-3) Saturday afternoon at the Southern New Hampshire University Ice Den.

The Beacons (3-1-2) have won four of the past five Manchester P.A.L./Stovepipe Tournaments, including earning a 5-3 title win over the University of New England last season. UMass Boston will take on the winner of Saturday's second game, the University of New England and host Southern New Hampshire University, Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in the Championship Game.

After a scoreless first 30 minutes, UMass Boston scored three times within four minutes and 55 seconds, behind goals from Nathan Milam (Westland, Mich.), Jeremy Finger (Orlando, Fla.) and Connor McStravick (Philadelphia, Pa.). Winger Mike Kuhn (Holbrook, Mass.) posted a career-high two assists, while Kit Sitterley (Mooresville, N.C.) and John Houston (Pittsburgh, Pa.) each added helpers.  

The 3-0 lead would be more than enough for sophomore goalie Zach Andrews (Coral Springs, Fla.), as the Beacons starting netminder posted 31 saves on 32 shots. Andrews and the Beacons extended their unbeaten streak to four with the win, after posting a pair of ties last weekend as part of an ECAC East road trip.

Josh Obregon scored the lone goal for the Wildcats to cap off the four-goal flurry in the second period, while goaltender Joey Ballmer made 41 saves on 44 shots in net for Johnson & Wales University.

A year after knocking off the Wildcats 7-4 in the Stovepipe Classic Semifinals, UMass Boston struggled to get anything going over the first 30 minutes, with Balmer stopping the first 21 shots he faced. Despite owning a 21-14 shot advantage through the first half of the contest, UMB couldn't get anything by the freshman from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Milam finally put the Beacons on the board at the 10:14 mark of period number two, when he scored the lone power-play tally of the night. The junior forward took a pass from Kuhn and rammed it home to give UMass Boston the lead for good. Milam's goal marked his first tally since scoring twice on opening night.

Finger doubled UMass Boston's lead to 2-0 just under five minute later, when he received a pass from Sitterley and put the puck past Balmer. The goal would start a scoring spree, as the two teams combined for three goals in 22 seconds.

UMass Boston lit up the lamp at 15:09, just nine seconds later, when McStravick scored his first career goal in a Beacons uniform. The sophomore took passes from Kuhn and Houston before roofing home a shot-for the first point of his sophomore season.

The Wildcats spoiled Andrews' shutout bid at 15:22, when Obregon took passes from Stefan Brucato and Cody Sarmiento, before beating Andrews.

Neither side managed to find the net over the final 24 minutes, as the two teams power-plays finished the day a combined 1-for-11. UMass Boston ended the game 1-for-6, while Johnson & Wales failed to score in five tries. UMass Boston owned a 44-32 shot advantage on the day.