No. 6 Minutemen Yank The Leash On No. 3 Hoyas
No. 6 Minutemen Yank The Leash On No. 3 Hoyas
The 11-8 UMass (11-1/ECAC 3-1) conference-win over Georgetown (8-1/3-1) wasn’t your average vanilla-flavored win. It was huge. The victory achieved three key desired outcomes: 1) Silence any doubts and dialogue about UMass’ merit in regards to strength of schedule 2) Establish the Minutemen as legit contender despite dropping a 1-g loss to Penn State 3) Demonstrate the kind of hunger required for next week’s match-up against No. 7 Syracuse. Even the Easter bunny couldn’t have set up Georgetown better with a couple of golden egg opportunities. The stats don’t lie. The Hoyas outshot UMass 48/35, dominated the face-offs 17/22, and failed to convert on EMO (4/8). The fluid off ball movement of the UMass attack coupled with an eagle eye to goal was a tough combination to beat. Defensively, the Rolex-powered slides made an at-times confused Georgetown attack seem even more nervous. Junior Jeff Zywicki (Sir Robert Borden, Ontario) was the big man on campus tallying 4 goals, while Sophomore goalie Bill Schell (Mahopac, NY) came up huge in the crease averaging 63.6%. Senior Mike Hammer (Robinson, VA) led the Hoyas with 2g, 1a.
There was no clear-cut winner entering the contest. Georgetown came into the game with an unblemished 8-0 record, 3-0 in ECAC play (Penn State 11-9, UMBC 12-7, Navy 4-3 OT) while UMass trailed ever so slightly with a 2-1 ECAC record (Navy 10-9, UMBC 11-8, and Penn State 10-11) and 11-1 overall record. Today’s contest was the fourth time the two ECAC behemoths have gone head-to-head. Prior to today’s match-up, Georgetown led the series 2-1 (2000 GU 19/18, 2001 GU 13/12, 2002 UM 16-13). The Hoyas lead the conference in assists (Hammer) and face-offs (Corno). If anything, a slight home turf edge would have to be given to the Minutemen.
Both teams got off to a shaky start in front of the 1,387 fans in attendance. Georgetown snagged possession of the faceoff at the top of the first quarter. The Hoyas were able to maintain possession for a mere 14 seconds before turning the ball over behind. Nearly 13 seconds later, UMass lit up the boards with the first goal of the game (1-0) at 14:23. Sophomore Chris Fiore (Freeport, NY) drew the double up top and dished the ball to Sophomore Gene Tundo (Orchard Park, NY) who was posted up goalie’s weakside crease and unmarked for a nasty lefty sidearm curler that sailed past Sophomore Hoya Rich D’Andrea’s right hip. Georgetown got possession of the faceoff to no avail as they turned the ball over. UMass Senior Kevin Leveille (Albany Academy, NY) found the back of the net two minutes later on EMO. Georgetown’s Walid Hajj got called for pushing at 13:13. Leveille shot from a step and a half in the box on the keeper’s stickside pegging top left corner on a heavy, righty sidearm (2-0) at 12:38. The Hoyas maintained possession and set up on a 1-4-1, shifted into a 2-3-1, and worked it around quickly on O during EMO (UMass’ Jack Reid 1m, unnecessary roughness). Senior Trevor Walker (Episcopal Academy, PA) hit Junior Neal Goldman (Mount Hebron, MD) top left. Goldman rifled a shot from way out wide sending a message to Schell with a stickside high shot (1-2) at 10:23. UMass rounded out the shooting in the first period with an EMO goal from frosh sensation Sean Morris (Marshfield, MA). Hoya Mike Hammer was called for an illegal hit. UMass’ Neal Lundberg top left hit a wide open Morris on the flat pass up high. Morris unleashed and tacked top right corner (3-1) at 4:45. The Hoyas would ride the clear hard and be able to cause turnovers. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert on the SOGs. The attack kept giving the keeper the easy read on flat angles from way out in the hinterlands, and kept playing patty-cake with the keeper stickside high.
The Minutemen gained possession of the faceoff at the top of the second quarter. UMass didn’t waste any precious time and found mesh a mere 13 seconds into the period. Chris Fiore racked up some frequent flyer miles taking his defender downfield hard along the keeper’s weakside. Just as Fiore was nearly flush with the goal line extended, he rolled into the hole and took a lefty shot hitting top right meanwhile shaking his defender who was unable to apply the brakes (4-1). UMass called for a timeout 14:47. Sean Morris scored for UMass at 9:01. Morris wrapped the crease moving D’Andrea left and then shooting behind him to hit low right corner (5-1). The Hoyas finally responded with an EMO goal from Trevor Walker. Georgetown stacked to create the Berlin Wall of screens. Phil Vincenti hit Walker up high who then unleashed a lefty bottle rocket nailing low right corner at 7:36 (2-5). Jeff Zywicki gave the Minutemen a 4-g margin going into the second half with a hard earned goal. Zywicki rolled the crease with a mouthful of mesh served up on a long stick and still managed to get a shot over D’Andrea’s right shoulder (6-2) at :55.
The Hoyas were first to post up numbers in the third period off a goal from Junior Walid Hajj (McDonough, MD). The offense set-up in 1-4-1. Hajj wrapped around using the screen, moving the keeper, and then shot across hitting stickside hip (3-6) at 12:31. Zywicki responded with an EMO goal off an assist from Leveille. Zywicki rolled the crease strongside and beat the keeper tacking top left (7-3) at 11:39. The Hoyas responded with a well-choreographed play. Georgetown worked the stack stickside of the crease and Vincenti received a pass from Hajj. Vincenti shot off the double dutch jumping screen with a low sweeper and hit low left corner (4-7) at 10:09. UMass responded with a quick series. The Georgetown defense was a step and half slow on the slide and the pass were tight and quick in the hole. Chris Doyle received from Morris up top and hit opposite low corner as he shot stickside on the crease (8-4). After a Saharan spell, the Hoyas were able to score on EMO and wrap up the scoring in the third. The attack took advantage of the situation and worked the ball around more quickly and was able to convert on a low right bouncer from Neal Goldman off an assist from Hajj (5-8).
Georgetown maintained possession of the faceoff at the start of the fourth quarter. Vincenti scored off an assist from Jordan Vettoretti. Vincenti shot opposite corner and hit top left corner at 14:37 (6-8). UMass responded big time with a long stick goal from Freshman Steve Byrnes (Beverly, MA) on the fast break. Byrnes nailed lower left corner as he drove down weakside of the field (9-6) just 6 seconds after the Hoya goal. Hammer found the net for Georgetown at 13:04 (7-9) as he rolled the crease strongside and was greeted with a double. Hammer nailed it past the double grazing Schell’s leftside hip. Zywicki pocketed his hat trick. Morris drew a double up top and leaving a lonely Zywicki parked on the crease sipping Mai Tai’s (10-7). Phil Vincenti scored the last goal for the Hoyas. Hammer worked the ball from behind pretty hard and was able to draw the defense out and Vincenti’s flash cut in from up top was capped off with sweet sot that hit top right (8-10) at 7:05. Jeff Zywicki wrapped up the outing with a shot that was all about pure speed. Zywicki inbounded the ball and ran hard and flat across the cage burning his defenders and sealing the deal with a shot that hit high left (11-8) at 2:49. UMass continued to run the clock and held the Hoyas scoreless for the remainder.
Final score: UMass 11, Georgetown 8.
UMass concludes regular season play with two clutch games; Syracuse, 26 April (MA) and Rutgers, 03 May (NJ). Georgetown ends with Rutgers, 26 April (DC) and Maryland, 03 May (MD).
Thanks to rik
for the sweet photos.
Massachusetts vs. Georgetown