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Jeff Bernstein/Daily Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Daily Collegian

It may have not have been a big playoff game, or even a game for first place, but the game-winning goal by David Boehm against New Hampshire on Friday was certainly the biggest of his career.

“[I’ve never had] something that big,” Boehm said. “It felt really good to get that goal, and has probably been the biggest goal of my career to date.”

The goal also earned the redshirt freshman the honor of Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week for last week. After Casey Wellman tied Friday’s contest at three with 11 seconds remaining in the third period, it was Boehm who gave UMass (7-2-0, 4-2-0 HEA) the win and the two points.

“It’s a great honor after having the season that I did last year, to be among the top rookies in the league,” Boehm said of receiving the honor.

Doug Kublin found Boehm in the neutral zone two minutes, five seconds into the extra period, and Boehm fired the shot for the win.

Boehm has been an important piece to the Minutemen’s success this season. He has filled in as injuries have taken their toll, proving UMass’ depth this season.  In six games, he has recorded two goals and an assist, and credits a lot of his success on the ice to UMass coach Don Cahoon.

“I feel like he puts me out there in good key situations,” Boehm said. “He plays me in times when I should be played.”

Even strength

While UMass has one of the top offenses in the Hockey East, prior to this past weekend’s set with New Hampshire, there was a concern about it to Cahoon. While the Minutemen had been scoring a lot of goals, the majority of them had been coming on power-play opportunities, not while at even strength.

“Over the last couple of weeks, that has been our focus, lets get our 5-on-5 play where we can be more productive and score goals,” Cahoon said.

UMass scored six goals on the weekend, with only Wellman’s goal at the end of regulation coming with a man advantage after Cahoon pulled his goalie. The other five goals came while both teams were at even strength.

One issue the Minutemen found against the Wildcats (3-6-2, 3-2-1 HEA) is the lack of power-play opportunities they are getting. In two games over the weekend, New Hampshire only gave UMass three power-play chances, with the Minutemen failing to find the back of the net on any of them.

“I thought New Hampshire did a great job of keeping the game penalty filled, which would have played to our favor with the way our power play has been executed,” Cahoon said.

With the early success UMass’ power-play line has had, scoring on 12-of-43 chances for a 27.9 percent success rate for best in the Hockey East. Cahoon expects more teams, including Yale, to keep play clean when they face the Minutemen, in hopes of neutralizing one of its biggest strengths.

Jumping Minutemen

Despite the split last weekend with the Wildcats, UMass still improved its national ranking, jumping from No. 14 to No. 11 in the latest USCHO.com Poll. The ranking is the highest for the Minutemen this year, and sets up a matchup of two of the top 15 teams in the country when they travel to No. 9 Yale on Thursday.

UMass is currently the second highest ranked team in the Hockey East, behind only No. 4 UMass Lowell – the two sister schools play at Lowell on Dec. 5 – and one of four HE teams currently ranked. Vermont and Boston College are also in the Top 20, at No. 18 and No. 19 respectively.

Jeffrey R. Larnard can be reached at jlarnard@dailycolelgian.com.

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