Notre Dame ices UMass with five third-period goals in 7-5 win

Last modified: Tuesday, December 09, 2014

AMHERST — If Friday’s game had ended after two periods, the UMass hockey team could have left feeling enthusiastic. For 40 minutes, the Minutemen had energy, a couple of well-executed goals and reason for optimism.

But a short stretch in the third period extinguished all of that. Notre Dame scored three times in less than two minutes and held on from there for a 7-5 win at the Mullins Center.

“We got into the third with a lead and we always talk about closing games,” said UMass sophomore forward Frank Vatrano, who had two goals and an assist. “It’s really frustrating. We need to close these kinds of games. We need to bear down more. We need to keep moving forward.”

The Minutemen (4-9-0, 1-8-0 Hockey East) and Fighting Irish (7-8-2, 3-2-2) will play the rematch Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

“We did some good things. We built on the first and had a real good second and did some real good things in the third,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “We certainly don’t want to get thrown out with the bath water.”

Trailing 6-3, UMass made it briefly interesting. In a scrum in front of the Irish net, several players hacked at the puck from both sides before Minuteman freshman Anthony Petrella finally jammed it through for his first career goal with 2:49 left.

With goaltender Steve Mastalerz, who replaced Henry Dill after Notre Dame’s sixth goal, pulled for an extra skater, UMass scored again as Troy Power’s shot through traffic eluded Irish goalie Chad Katunar with 1:32 left.

UMass pulled the goalie again and got a faceoff in the offensive end late, but Notre Dame lofted it out of the zone and Peter Schneider broke in for an easy empty-net goal that sealed the game.

Trailing 1-0, UMass almost tied the game when Katunar dove across the crease just in time to rob Shane Walsh at the right-wing post.

But nobody was robbing Vatrano, who snapped a shot past Katunar from the slot to make it 1-1 with 6:13 left in the first.

UMass pulled ahead 25 seconds into the second, when Walsh converted a Steven Iacobellis pass to make it 2-1. The 2,744 fans had barely finished celebrating the lead before Notre Dame tied the game 37 seconds later.

With the Minutemen killing Maddison Smiley’s penalty for hitting after the whistle, Jake Horton fed Vatrano just outside the UMass zone. The sophomore forward walked in a beat Katunar with 9:48 left. It gave the Minutemen a 3-2 lead that they carried into the third.

“Frank played very well,” Micheletto said. “We’re scratching the surface of what he could be in time. He’s on a good trajectory right now.”

Mario Lucia scored 1:13 into the third to tie the game. Schneider set up Jordan Gross’ go-ahead goal with 14:19 left then scored 1:12 later to make it 5-3. Luke Ripley’s goal 46 seconds after that chased Henry Dill (17 saves) and made it 6-3.

“We got back on our heels,” Micheletto said. “I would like for us to have gotten back over our toes quicker than we did. But we didn’t. I appreciated the fact that we stuck with it and drew it close late but we can’t have those swings where we get flat and on our heels.”

NOTES – UMass was without sophomore forward Ray Pigozzi, who is sidelined with an upper-body injury. His status is day to day.

Matt Vautour can be reached at Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at


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