Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass falls in season opener to No. 19 Boston University

BOSTON – It wasn’t the kind of fresh start the Massachusetts hockey team was probably hoping for.

The Minutemen outshot No. 19 Boston University 40-24 for the game, but gave up three consecutive second-period goals six minutes, 30 seconds apart and fell 3-1 to the Terriers in front of 3,885 at Agganis Arena in their season opener on Friday night.

Cade Belisle/Collegian

UMass (0-1, 0-1 Hockey East) dominated for much of the contest, but was done in by defensive breakdowns and strong play by Terriers goaltender Sean Maguire, who made 39 saves for the win in BU’s first game under coach David Quinn.

“It was a good start for us. I think we just came up short in the details category tonight and those opportunities wound up in the back of our net,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “We jumped out with a lot of energy in the first period, but it would’ve been nice to bang something home. We weren’t able to, and we just gave up more opportunities than any of us would like in the second period.”

The Minutemen certainly weren’t short of chances. They had nine power plays, one shot hit off the post and another potential score on a breakaway chance ruled no goal. UMass was also hurt by 30 penalty minutes, including a game misconduct for hitting from behind by Shane Walsh 3:53 into the first period.

The call set UMass back early, but the penalty killing unit held its own, and goaltender Steve Mastalerz was strong enough to overcome many of the Minutemen’s mistakes throughout the night. The junior finished with 21 saves on 24 shots in his first start as UMass’ No. 1 goalie.

“You’re not gonna come out with the win every night,” Mastalerz said,” but I thought it was a good effort from the whole team and it’s something to build off of.”

The Minutemen had some good momentum entering the second period, but that quickly disappeared 1:02 in when Garrett Noonan beat Mastalerz with a shot from the top of the slot.

Tommy Kelley doubled the Terriers’ advantage at 5:07 with his first-career goal on a power play. And Evan Rodrigues got into the act at 7:32. Just like that, it was 3-0 BU.

Micheletto wasn’t ready to blame his netminder for the difficult stretch, however.

“We gave up the big ice in a D-zone coverage breakdown, can’t fault (Mastalerz) on that,” Micheletto said. “We did not rotate on the penalty kill for the second (goal) for a quick touch inside and a one-timer. Again, I have no problem with that. I thought Steve’s performance was very, very good (Friday night).”

After the three goals, UMass responded with a sense of urgency. Conor Sheary had the Minutemen’s best scoring chance up until that point with a breakaway off a Terriers turnover in the neutral zone.

While drawing a hooking penalty in front of the net, Sheary took a shot that appeared to slide under the pad of Maguire and into the net, but was ruled no goal.

Sheary said after the game that officials simply said they couldn’t see the puck at the end of the play, so therefore didn’t have enough evidence to rule it a goal.

“What they say stands and it’s not my decision,” Sheary said. “We just have to keep playing. We had a power play after that and had other opportunities so we kept going.”

The Minutemen finally broke through 10 minutes, 24 seconds into the third period when Adam Phillips found Steven Iacobellis at the top of the left circle for a one-timer on a power play that beat Maguire for the freshman’s first-career goal.

UMass continued to attack the BU zone the rest of the way and had a pair of power play opportunities late in the third, but most of its shots found the glove of Maguire.

“I thought we were a little too fine (Friday),” Micheletto said. “I thought that we were one-and-done in a lot of situations when I would’ve preferred us not to be. Things ended up in (Maguire’s) glove too often when we weren’t in grade-A scoring areas. I would’ve liked to have seen more second and third shot opportunities, particularly in the first and second period.

“Again, I thought we had the puck a lot. We had a lot of opportunities, just weren’t flattening it out enough for us.”

Friday marked the lone Hockey East matchup of October for any team, leaving the Terriers atop the standings and the Minutemen at the bottom for at least the next three weeks.

UMass will play defending conference champion and top-ranked UMass Lowell on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a non-conference matchup.

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

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