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UMass hockey’s rough special teams showing leads to 3-0 loss to UNH

 

 

Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts hockey team came out flat on Saturday night and fell to No. 13 New Hampshire 3-0 in a Hockey East Association matchup at the Mullins Center.

A strange goal that got past starting UMass netminder Matt Murray in the first minutes of play sent things off on the wrong foot for the Minutemen (4-5-0, 1-2-0 HE), who were unable to register any scoring on the night.

Coach Greg Carvel called the loss a “frustrating” one and hoped that UMass would have come out with more energy.

“I was really excited for this game, when you get a week when you only have one game and can spend all week focusing on your opponent, getting rested and getting energized,” Carvel said. “Then to come out and have that fluke goal happen so quickly kind of put us on our heals.”

Carvel added, “They beat us the way that they beat teams, taking advantage of offensive opportunities. I wanted our team to show better tonight and that just wasn’t the case.”

Aside from dealing with an early deficit, the Minutemen also didn’t help themselves by any means on the ice and were called for a total of eight penalties on the night.

According to Carvel, UMass lacked overall discipline, something it had emphasized in practice in the week leading up to Saturday’s contest.

“We really stressed discipline,” he said. “The fact that we took so any penalties is what’s frustrating.”

On the other side of special teams, the Minutemen were granted with seven man-advantages of their own, but couldn’t capitalize on any of the chances.

Carvel explained that the lack of production from the unit, made up entirely of freshmen, was due to limited shots on net when the opportunities arose.

“We got the puck up top and didn’t shoot it hardly at all,” he said. “We passed the puck around a lot. There’s only one guy out there that wants to shoot it and he shoots it from the goal line.”

The Wildcats (6-1-1, 3-0-1) got things started just one minute and forty seconds into the first period of action. Liam Blackburn sent a skipping puck on Murray from behind the blue line that managed to bounce over his pads and into the net.

UNH doubled its lead with five minutes to go in the opening period on the power play when Brendan van Riemsdyk got one past Murray.

Following a nine-save performance through the first 20, Murray was replaced at the start the second period by sophomore Ryan Wischow who made 14 saves through the final 40 minutes of play.

The Wildcats scored their third and final tally of the night on a 5-on-3 man-advantage. Defenseman Benton Maass, a Washington Capitals prospect, was credited with the goal, his first of the season.

Wischow made a handful of quality stops prior to the goal, but simply couldn’t cover enough ground to get over and block Maass’ one-time finish.

“I thought I played alright and gave our team a chance,” Wischow said. “When you go in the second it’s a little bit different, you try to prepare the same but it’s never really the same. The energy wasn’t really there for us tonight but I’m happy with the way I played.”

Junior defenseman Ivan Chukarov saw his first action of the season, starting alongside Shane Bear as the third defensive pair.

 

Liam Flaherty can be reached at lpflaherty@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.

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