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Patrick Donnelly | | October 15, 2022

No. 13 UMass men's hockey upsets No. 1 Denver

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In a battle of the last two national champions, No. 13 UMass pulled off the upset against reigning champ No. 1 Denver, 4-2, at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Friday.

The Minutemen (1-0-1) were in an unfamiliar spot as underdogs, hosting the Pioneers (2-1-0) for the first of a two-game set at home. To make matters worse, UMass found themselves in trouble early when senior forward Cal Kiefiuk took a five-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct for hitting from behind just 38 seconds into the proceedings.

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It proved no matter as about halfway through the penalty kill, senior forward Reed Lebster broke into the Denver zone on an odd-man rush with freshman Kenny Connors. Lebster's cross-crease to Connors fluttered, but the frosh redirected it for his first collegiate goal to make it 1-0. 

The Minutemen weren't done with the shorthanded magic as sophomore defenseman Scott Morrow scored on a feed from sophomore Ryan Lautenbach to double the lead just 1:21 later. Freshman Tyson Dyck extended the UMass cushion with his first career score in the back half of the first, making it 3-0 on the top team in the nation.

The Minutemen special teams continued to surge in the second as Lebster got in on the fun, but this time it was a power play goal for UMass to make it 4-0 less than three minutes into the period. 

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The Pioneers wouldn't go down without a fight, though, as the Minutemen penalty kill couldn't remain perfect for the entire game. Sophomore Carter Mazur got DU on the board with a power play goal late in the third, redirecting Jack Devine's shot, and Shai Buium pulled Denver within two with under five minutes to go off a blast from the point.

Even with the Pioneers pushing with the extra attacker on the ice, UMass clung to the two-goal lead for the win.

Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET in Amherst.

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