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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Too Much to Handle in Men’s Hockey

New York native and UMass Boston student Ryan Donovan is one of the Beacons’ goalies, sworn to protects his sensitive areas–and the net–from enemy pucks.

Playing their second game in less than 24 hours, the Beacons might have been vulnerable. Add the fact that they faced one of the best division III teams in the country, and the game was a battle.

The Beacons lost that battle, 5-1, against nationally-ranked Bowdoin College Saturday afternoon in Clark Athletic Center, dropping their record to 0-2-0. Matt Bruch of the Bowdoin Polar Bears had a great afternoon, scoring twice and racking up two assists in the physical match-up.

The game was hard-hitting from the start and continued throughout. UMass Boston was whistled for thirteen penalties while Bowdoin was reprimanded fourteen times. Bowdoin realized from the start that the game was very physical. “These guys [have] a lot of Canadian, American juniors guys and they play real physical hockey,” said Bowdoin goalie Paul DeCoster after a 23-save performance. “To me, we knew what we were coming into when we came down here.”

Bowdoin head coach Terry Meagher was impressed with the speed and physicality of the Beacons, but said his goalie was the difference. “I thought he was big on the two major penalties,” Meagher said. “[He] got some key saves in key power play situations.”

Meagher was quick to talk about the fairness of the officiating, but shied away from comment about the play on the ice becoming dirty instead of just physical. “I really don’t have any comment on that,” he said.

After the first period, there were 21 penalties called. Bowdoin was whistled for two hitting-after-the-whistle penalties, one unsportsmanlike conduct, one contact to the head and a game-misconduct. The Polar Bears collected 32 penalty minutes in the last two periods alone, with most of it coming with their three-, four-, and five-goal lead.

The Beacons spent time in the box too, but not for late-hitting or contact to the head, which are more dangerous penalties. “[We committed] too many penalties in the second period,” Beacons head coach Peter Belisle admitted. “We weren’t moving our feet; we weren’t initiating our whole game plan.”

“They’re attacking and [we’re] playing in the defensive zone and getting behind guys and have to take penalties because [we] don’t have the puck,” Belisle said. “Our expectations are higher than that.” UMass Boston forward Matt Atsoff, who scored two goals for the Beacons on Friday night, thought that this game was a learning experience. “It was a good lesson, a good wake up call. We got a lot to work on still.”

Early in the first period with the game scoreless, UMass Boston’s Dennis Zak had a chance to score. Down a man, Zak took a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated down the left side past a Bowdoin defenseman. Zak got the Polar Bear’s goalie to commit, held the puck and shot, but didn’t get good wood. The puck trickled harmlessly past the right post as a Bowdoin defenseman cleared it.

“They got a couple lucky breaks,” DeCoster said. “In our system, the way we play it, sometimes you get a couple breakaways so it’s to be expected.” DeCoster made a number of superb saves for his team. He was always in good position and ready for the puck. The Polar Bears killed off a full two-minute, two-man advantage in the third period with a lot of help from their goalie.

No to be overlooked was the play of UMass Boston’s goalie, Ryan Donovan. The sophomore faced 46 shots coming from all angles. The game could have been out of hand early on if not for the stellar play of Donovan. He was constantly deflecting shots, covering loose pucks and stopping secondary chances. Donovan has allowed nine goals in two games, but has played very well despite the 4.50 GAA. Donovan has faced 83 shots in the last two games and has a .893 save percentage.

Freshman defenseman Ted Battaglia spoiled Bowdoin’s shutout by scoring a goal with 1.5 seconds remaining. He was assisted by Vinnie Jacona and David Lun.

About the Contributor
Ryan Thomas served as the sports editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2007-2008; 2008-2009