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UMass 3, Vermont 2

Marcou’s goal lifts Minutemen in OT

By Diana C. Nearhos
Globe Correspondent / January 8, 2012
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David Ortiz isn’t the only one to slam a game-winner home in overtime at Fenway Park, but he is the most notable. UMass senior defenseman Michael Marcou joined the list yesterday, scoring with 22.3 seconds left in the extra session to give the Minutemen a 3-2 victory over Vermont in the first game of the Frozen Fenway doubleheader.

“I think I can relate to Big Papi when he hits a walkoff home run in the 11th,’’ said UMass coach Don Cahoon, whose team improved to 7-8-5, 3-6-4 in Hockey East. “That’s what it felt like, given the nature of the overtime, killing the five minutes and then getting the power-play opportunity.’’

Marcou got the puck in front and fired. Vermont goaltender Rob Madore blocked the puck, but could not corral it. Marcou navigated a maze of players, managing to find the rebound. He fired again, and this time he beat Madore.

“Every time you play a big game like this, outdoors in front of a lot of people, you always envision yourself scoring the overtime winner,’’ Marcou said. “It’s my first one ever, so it’s a pretty good experience to have it here at Fenway.’’

Vermont (4-15-1, 1-11-1) appeared to have the advantage when UMass forward Patrick Kiley was called for a five-minute major and given a game misconduct for hitting from behind with 2:43 left in the third period.

Though the Catamounts picked up the intensity, peppering UMass goaltender Jeff Teglia, they couldn’t convert. Vermont’s best chance came one minute into overtime. Forward Colin Markison got the puck directly in front and ripped off a shot. But Teglia secured the puck between his arm and chest, keeping the Minutemen alive.

The tide then turned as Vermont defenseman Michael Paliotta was called for boarding and given a game misconduct with 1:19 left. That penalty gave UMass the power play that led to Marcou’s goal.

The pace was slow at first as both teams took a few minutes to settle down and forget their surroundings.

“In the first period, pucks were bouncing a little bit, guys were a little nervous, we didn’t play as physical as we had wanted,’’ said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “But I give our guys a lot of credit. Everything we addressed between periods, they adapted to and executed really well.’’

About halfway through the game, things got exciting. UMass center Eric Filiou was called for boarding, and 25 seconds into the power play, forward Kyle Reynolds gave the Catamounts the lead.

Center Sebastian Stalberg took a shot that Teglia deflected. Reynolds forced his way toward the net and knocked in the rebound.

UMass responded just 15 seconds later. From behind the net, Kiley fed the puck to Filiou, who flicked it in.

“Guys really kept it between the glass, but at the same time, you can’t help but notice that you’re in Fenway Park,’’ said Teglia. “It was an unbelievable experience.’’

Minutemen forward Danny Hobbs broke the tie 1:10 into the second period. He had one man to beat and faked out defenseman Anders Franzon, then tucked the puck in the small opening between the post and Madore’s skate.

About halfway through the frame, Vermont tied it again. Defenseman Drew MacKenzie redirected a shot by Stalberg into the opening left by Teglia as he cut off Stalberg’s angle.

The game was a stalemate until Kiley’s penalty late in the third period, when Vermont gained some momentum.

Teglia started his fourth game of the season, earning his first win.

“This is what college hockey is all about: We have a rivalry and we’re in overtime at Fenway,’’ Sneddon said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.’’

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