Hockey Tops UMass in Season Opener, 5-3
Matt Berry scores twice in the win.
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State hockey team won its season opener, 5-3, over Massachusetts on Friday night at Munn Ice Arena. The Spartans got a pair of goals from senior Matt Berry while junior captain Mike Ferrantino added two assists and sophomore winger Mackenzie MacEachern scored a goal and had two assists.
The Spartans never trailed in the game and with a 3-2 lead heading into the third, goals by Matt DeBlouw and Berry put the game away.
"I thought it was a good start for us," MSU head coach Tom Anastos said. "There were a lot of things that we liked; we saw some things that we've been working on both offensively and defensively and it was also nice to see the puck go in the net. That's a confidence boost for the team and certainly the guys that scored."
The five goals were the most by the Spartans in a season opener since a 6-1 win over Clarkson in 2009.
It didn't take long for the Spartan offense to get going as Berry got the first of the season just 3:37 into the opening stanza. Ferrantino fired a shot from the left circle and Berry redirected it past UMass goaltender Steve Mastalerz.
Consecutive MSU penalties, including a five-minute major to Brent Darnell, gave the Minutemen seven minutes of power-play time midway through the period. But the Spartan penalty kill and goalie Jake Hildebrand withstood the UMass pressure to keep it 1-0.
"That major penalty was a good kill for us because our penalty kill was not an area we were happy with last year," said Anastos. "We've worked a lot on special teams, given the amount of time we've been practicing. It was nice to go against real competition and their power play killed us last year."
JT Stenglein gave MSU a 2-0 lead with just over two minutes to play in the first when he took the puck from the left boards near the hash mark and drove to the net, putting home his own rebound past Mastalerz.
Keith Burchett put UMass on the board with his first of two goals on the night at the 2:14 mark of the second period. Zack LaRue scored shorthanded just over four minutes later to knot the game, 2-2.
The UMass shorthanded scoring play came when a 2-on-1 developed at the Spartans' blue line, sending LaRue and Dennis Kravchenko up the ice. Kravchenko hit LaRue on the left side, who got the puck past Hildebrand.
The Spartans' reclaimed the lead at the 12:23 mark with a power-play goal by MacEachern. Berry redirected Travis Walsh's point shot and the puck ricochet off the back boards to the right side of the net where MacEachern banged home the rebound from a sharp angle.
Leading 3-2 heading into the third, DeBlouw got his first goal since March 2013 to give MSU a 4-2 advantage. Ryan Keller poked the puck ahead from just inside the MSU zone along the left side where DeBlouw picked it up in full stride and raced into the UMass end. DeBlouw then snapped the puck high over Mastalerz, just under the crossbar.
Berry's second tally of the night just over four minutes after DeBlouw's goal made it 5-2. Similar to DeBlouw's goal, Berry ripped a shot past Mastalerz from the left circle.
Burchett closed the scoring with 6:43 to play when walked into the high slot and beat Hildebrand up high to make it 5-3.
MSU finished with a 27-24 edge in shots on goal.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Munn Ice Arena.