Heartbreak for UM at Chestnut Hill

By DailyCollegian.com Staff

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

It was a frustrating weekend for the Massachusetts hockey team, which saw its season come to an end after being swept by No. 1 Boston College in the Hockey East quarterfinals, despite perhaps its best possible effort both nights.

The Minutemen (13-18-5, 9-14-4 HEA) appeared to simply run into a better team, as netminder Parker Milner stole the show for the Eagles (27-10-1, 19-7-1 HEA), making 58 saves while only allowing three goals on the weekend.

“[Milner] had a good series,” said University of Massachusetts coach Don Cahoon in an interview with UMass Athletics. “If we’re a little bit more poised around the net, maybe we get a couple more, but you can’t take away his performance.”

The Minutemen outshot BC, 61-40, on the weekend, but a couple of bad breaks turned out to be the difference-maker for UMass in the series.

One of those bad breaks turned out to be the series-clinching goal for the Eagles in their 3-2 win Saturday, as a missed icing call on Milner and missed penalty call, according to Cahoon, led to BC’s third goal of the night in the final minute of the second period.

“I’ve never been more frustrated in all my life,’’ said Cahoon. “I’ve got 28 kids in that locker room that are absolutely devastated and don’t feel like they lost this series. We should still be playing out there right now, I don’t think there’s any question in the world. If you get a chance to look at that third goal, you won’t believe what you’d see. End of story.”

“It was disgraceful,” continued Cahoon. “If [T.J.] Syner didn’t get hit from behind going behind the net to get the puck, then there should have been a huge embellishment penalty. If it wasn’t an icing, it was a hit from behind; if it wasn’t a hit from behind, it was embellishment. There’s no way of getting around it. And no one in this league or any league is going to tell me otherwise because it just ended our season. Absolutely disgraceful.”

The contested no-call wasn’t even the first of the misfortunes for the Minutemen Saturday.

After UMass took an early 1-0 lead off a goal by sophomore forward Conor Sheary, ending the Eagles’ streak of 687 minutes, 56 seconds without trailing in a game, it found itself on another power play just minutes later.

Unfortunately, a five-minute major and game-misconduct on Steven Guzzo ended that advantage just 32 seconds into the Minuteman power-play chance.

BC capitalized with a four-on-four goal by Pat Mullane, beating freshman goaltender Kevin Boyle (19 saves) at the 4:25 mark, as well as a power-play goal minutes later by Paul Carey while still serving Guzzo’s penalty.

The Minutemen pulled even 18:03 into the second period with a goal by defenseman Joel Hanley off a feed by Michael Marcou, but could not beat Milner the rest of the night.

Eagles steal Game One

UMass didn’t find itself any luckier in Game One of the best-of-three series, as dominating the second period for 19 minutes, 21 seconds was not enough, with the Eagles putting home two goals in 39 seconds was more than sufficient for the Chestnut Hill squad to secure a 2-1 victory.

After a scoreless first period, the Minutemen came out firing in the second, tallying 11 shots, and appeared to have scored the game’s first goal midway through the period

Michael Pereira led a two-on-one break with Guzzo and found the sophomore forward glove side to beat Milner.

It was not UMass’ lucky weekend, however, as the goal was called back after the officials claimed the puck deflected off the skate of Guzzo in what appeared to be a kicking motion.

“[The officials] used the rule book and the rule book says if there is any question then it is pretty much no goal,” said Cahoon. “There was a question in their mind. It’s one of those really gray areas.”

“It’s a hard rule to write,” Cahoon added. “It is what it is, and they called it according to the book.”

Boyle (16 saves) was beat twice despite only facing three shots in the period.

The first goal came 17 minutes, 46 seconds in as Johnny Gaudreau found Pat Mullane, who beat Boyle with a wrist-shot to score the initial goal of the series.

Gaudreau got involved yet again, feeding Tommy Cross 39 seconds later to swing the momentum in the favor of the Eagles, who took a 2-0 lead into the third period.

The Minutemen put together another strong effort in the third period, outshooting BC, 8-5, but could only beat Milner once, 6:55 into the frame, as a Michael Marcou slap-shot was re-directed by Guzzo to cut the lead in half.

“We spent an awful lot of time from last spring right through this year trying to package this team so that it would play the way it has played over the past month,” said Cahoon. “Hopefully that will be the stepping stone to the way we play into the future.”

Nick Canelas can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Canelas.