UMass Minutemen thrillingly defeat reigning champion Denver Pioneers 4-2 in their home opener

In a stunning victory, the Minutemen outclassed the Pioneers in the home opener

In electrifying and miraculous fashion, the UMass Minutemen scored two early shorthanded goals and never looked back, defeating the defending champion Denver Pioneers 4-2 Friday night. The student section was rocking throughout the night with 7,297 students in attendance.

Only thirty-eight seconds into the game, UMass senior forward Cal Kiefiuk was handed a major game misconduct penalty for a hit from behind, putting the Minutemen down a man for five minutes. Three minutes into the Denver powerplay, UMass forward Kenny Connors scored his first collegiate career goal. Eighty seconds later, UMass would score again with a goal from sophomore defenseman Scott Morrow.

The Pioneers would record zero shots on net during the five-minute powerplay. The Minutemen went on to score two more goals in the game, coming from forwards Tyson Dyck and Reed Lebster.

Even as the Pioneers rallied late, UMass held them off winning their first home game of the season. UMass goaltender Luke Pavicich played a game to remember, saving 45 of 47 shots. In net on the other side, Denver goaltender Magnus Chrona struggled, saving only 11 of 15 shots from the Minutemen.

UMass and Denver will face each other once again at the Mullins Center later tonight with the puck dropping at 7:30 p.m.. UMass looks to make a statement with a sweep, giving a stern warning across the collegiate hockey world that the Minutemen will not be taken lightly this year.

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