Dennis Kravchenko’s hat trick lifts UMass hockey to third straight win

Last modified: Friday, October 30, 2015

Amherst — One UMass hockey fan recognized the significance of Dennis Kravchenko’s empty-net goal with 2 minutes, 47 seconds remaining Friday.

He tossed a black baseball cap onto the ice, which was quickly picked up by the official and removed from the Mullins Center playing surface.

Kravchenko’s third goal of the night gave him UMass’ second hat trick of the season and capped a 5-2 victory in the Minutemen’s home opener.

Freshman Austin Plevy also scored thrice in UMass’ season opener Oct. 10 at Colorado College.

The fan’s gesture didn’t go unnoticed.

“I saw the hat. The fans, they were in the game more than you think,” Kravchenko said. “They were behind us all the way.”

Even when the Minutemen weren’t in front.

UMass (3-0) went down 1-0 9:55 into the game when Kory Kennedy scored for Sacred Heart.

Keith Burchett tied it up for the Minutemen 7:36 later to end the first period 1-1.

Both teams also scored in the second frame.

Kravchenko first got on the board assisted by Plevy and Steven Iacobellis 6:08 into the second period, but Kennedy levelled the game at 2-2 almost 10 minutes later.

The third period belonged to UMass.

Kravchenko put the Minutemen up for the second time and for good 13:08 into the third period assisted by Dominic Trento and Ray Pigozzi.

“The kid (Pigozzi) dumped it, and we lost the puck. We couldn’t find it along the boards, and it popped out to Dennis there,” Sacred Heart coach C.J. Marottolo said. “It’s the wrong guy to pop out to.”

Trento added a goal to his earlier assist at 15:42 of the third period, all but deciding the game for UMass.

Kravchenko wasn’t done, though.

He still had his hat trick to finish and a third consecutive win to wrap up.

UMass started 3-0 for the first time since 2009 after sweeping Colorado College in two games last weekend.

The Minutemen won despite being outshot 38-26.

Henry Dill made 36 saves for UMass.

“I thought we controlled the puck a lot in the first and second period. I didn’t think we got to the net hard enough,” Marottolo said.

UMass also made up for the deficit in shots by staying out of the penalty box.

The Minutemen only committed three penalties in the game compared to five by Sacred Heart. (0-1-1).

“The ones that you can avoid and prevent — stick fouls, things after the whistle — as a young team I don’t think we had discipline enough last year, and I didn’t do a good enough job instilling that from the get-go last year,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “This year, guys really understand what it takes. They know sometimes you’ve got to swallow really hard. It’s easy to chop somebody and take out your frustration, but it’s not in your best interest.”

UMass also made Sacred Heart pay for its infractions by scoring on the power play in the second period.

The Minutemen head into Hockey East play Friday against New Hampshire (7 p.m. Mullins Center).

“Certainly we’re going to derive a lot of confidence from the good things we do and the record that we have and the confidence that we know that we can hold a lead or come back form a three-goal deficit (Saturday at Colorado College),” Micheletto said. “These are all things that you throw in your backpack and carry with you for the rest of the season. We certainly know that the big boy games start in January, and you’ve got to grind it out every week. That’s what we’re building to.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at


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