UMass opens up two-goal lead over St. Cloud State after first period of national championship game

Aaron Bohlinger scores UMass’ first goal of the national championship game past St. Cloud State’s David Hrenak (photo: Jim Rosvold).

PITTSBURGH — UMass played opportunistic hockey in the opening period of the 2021 national championship game, scoring twice on turnovers to lead St. Cloud State, 2-0, through 20 minutes.

Though St. Cloud controlled the period territorially, the Huskies mustered just three shots on goal, though that didn’t include Veeti Miettinen’s shot off the post just 90 seconds into the game.

As things settled in for the Minutemen, they found ways to capitalize on mistakes.

As St. Cloud State was looking to attack in the UMass zone, defenseman Ty Farmer grabbed a loose puck and hit Aaron Bohlinger with an outlet pass. While Bohlinger was likely to be in alone, two St. Cloud defensemen collided, allowing Ryan Sullivan to jump in the play for a 2-on-0. Working the give-and-go, Bohlinger buried his first collegiate goal at 7:26 for the 1-0 lead.

After UMass killed the period’s only penalty, it was able to extend the lead late. Cal Kiefiuk picked off Sam Hentges clearing pass along the left board, curling below the goal line and fired a goal-mouth pass that Reed Lebster buried at 18:56 for a 2-0 advantage.

In a period where shots on goal were at a premium, UMass held a 7-3 advantage.