The Minutemen dictated the tempo and tenor of the game
winning 8-4 with a solid, early-season performance
over No. 17 Hofstra. UMass advances 1-0 with the
season opener take. Sound defense, Doc Schneider in
the cage, and an offensive flow made for a Minuteman
serving not too easy for the Pride to swallow.
Pre-season rankings are to say at the very least, a
bit tricky. Speculative formulas generating numbers
based on potential, history, and opinion/hype are
quickly debunked and frankly, donít mean much after
the final whistle of a season opener upset. Given
that, if x is the winner, and x is a soft value
between 0 and 17, what, who is x?
It didnít take too long to see that UMass was the
stronger of the two game contenders. With that being
said, the game had turnovers typical of early season
action (24-19 UMass to Hofstra). The key difference
was that UMass was able to make coin from coal and
even though the final goal differential implied a
closer contest, the separation was distinct. If the
off field response was any indication of field play,
the Pride, who had a strong, vocal (especially in the
first quarter when UMass only led 2-0) contingent, the
point at which local fans made it a caged Zoo locked
by a snowy perimeter, was palpable, certainly audible.
Hofstra was plagued by shot selection, or lack thereof
(37 shots to 25). UMass goalie Doc Schneider, no doubt
a talented player, received many a campaign
contribution care of the Hofstra offensive fund. We
could assume that the Pride had an off day to sort of
mitigate the circumstances, but really it was the
UMass defense; cut from that signature cloth of size,
presence, and something else, it is all best described
by their Viking theme sounding off at the start of
each game. The UMass defense seemed a bit amused by
their effect. The Pride seemed a bit shy on the take
initiating with a hard drive 10 yards away only to
dish without purpose.
Junior Tim Balise led UMass with four goals while
Anthony Muscarella paced the Pride with two goals and
one assist. The rest of the stats do much of the
talking. Hofstra out shot UMass 37-25, but thatís one
of the only categories in which they had a lead. UMass
controlled possession: grounders 29-27, face-offs
10-16, and saves 19-8.
Hofstra took the first ball at the face off x, but was
unable to hold onto possession. Both teams traded
quick turnovers. UMass was first to strike at 13:35
with a goal from Tim Balise going stick side low to
high with a side arm. Sophomore Bobby Hayes got the
grounder of a dropped pass dishing off to Balise.
UMass extended the lead (2-0) with a goal from
freshman Peter McNichols from sophomore Kevin Wright
at 9:35. Wright took his defender with the face dodge
to goal finding McNichols low who finished with a
stick side over hand bouncer.
UMass outscored the Pride 3-1 in the second period.
Balise scored his second goal off a ball from
McNichols. Balise snagged the grounder. Sophomore
Hofstra keeper Danny Orlando stepped out of the cage.
Balise found the back of the net at 11:34 giving UMass
a 3-0 lead. The Pride finally answered back with a
goal at 7:19 from Anthony Muscarella (1-3).
Muscarella went 1v1 with the righty overhand off hip
bouncer. UMass rounded out the half with a pair of
goals from Balise and Evan Blum. Balise converted for
an overhand jump shot on the rebound posting a hat
trick (4-1) at 4:51. UMass scored with less than
minute on the clock. Blum hit top shelf off a feed
from Hayes giving UMass a solid 5-1 lead going into
Hofstra turned up the offense in the second half out
shooting UMass 25-8. The Pride outscored the Minutemen
2-1 in the third. Hofstra put in two goals back to
back. Kevin Ford scored at 9:18 with the assist
credited to Michael Colleluori. Fordís low to high cut
took Schneider off pipe shooting weak side (2-5). Ford
scored again less than a minute later off a pass from
Muscarella. Fordís EMO goal went upper 90 off the
lefty side arm shot (3-5) narrowing the lead to two.
UMass wrapped up the third quarter with a goal from
Fred Federico unassisted at 4:22. Federico gave UMass
the three-point edge with an over handed shot on the
Hofstra out shot UMass 14-4 in the final quarter. The
Minutemen edged out the Pride 2-1 in the fourth. UMass
scored back to back at the top of the period. Freshman
Ryan Hantverk gave the Minutemen a four goal lead
finding the lower right corner of the net off a pass
from Hayes (13:54). Balise scored his fourth and final
goal of the game less than ten seconds later off an
assist from Joe Reale. Balise got the overhanded shot
going high off of a quick transition (8-3) at 13:47.
Neither team could convert until the final minute of
regulation when Hofstra got a goal from Muscarella
UMass advances to 1-0 while Hofstra drops 0-1. Hofstra
hosts brown on March 1st at 15:00 while UMass travels
to Yale on March 1st game time at 13:00.