Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey splits weekend series in Boston

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(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)

(Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian)

Penalties doomed the Massachusetts hockey team Saturday night against No. 6 Boston College in a 4-1 loss that gave the Minutemen a 1-1 record for the weekend.

Heading into the matchup on a two-game winning streak after defeating Northeastern on Friday, UMass (2-3-0, 1-2-0 Hockey East) conceded two scores on the 5-on-3 disadvantage to Eagles’ sophomore Adam Gilmour.

The Minutemen spent 31 total minutes in the penalty box Saturday, including a five-minute major from captain Troy Power, compared to BC’s 16 minutes.

“We’ve got to stay out of the box,” Power said. “I took a five-minute major penalty at the end of the game that is unacceptable and took our chance away to come back in the game, which unfortunately is something that I’m upset about.”

Following a scoreless first period, the Eagles broke through first with a wrist shot from Alex Tuch that beat UMass goaltender Henry Dill less than six minutes into the second frame. Gilmour tallied the first of his two goals roughly two minutes later to give BC a 2-0 lead at the end of the second period.

After Gilmour added to the Eagles’ lead in the third period, Minutemen junior Shane Walsh converted on UMass’ only goal of the game with less than three minutes left in regulation. BC tacked on an empty-net goal with 34 seconds left to play.

UMass coach John Micheletto said that he was pleased with the Minutemen’s two-game set over the weekend despite Saturday’s loss.

“You’re getting some road points, in league and early in the season against two teams ranked in the top 20 in the early season poll,” Micheletto said. “Overall, it was definitely a success.”

Although UMass failed to capitalize on most of its scoring opportunities on Saturday, Micheletto said that he was happy with the team’s overall performance at even strength.

“You look on the 5-on-5 play and the shots were close,” Micheletto said. “It was a fast, tight game against a really good team.”

Micheletto said he was particularly encouraged by the play of the Minutemen’s top line of Power, Dennis Kravchenko and Frank Vatrano, who came into Saturday’s game with one combined point.

While the line is still looking for its first goal of the season, Kravchenko and Vatrano were each rewarded an assist on Walsh’s goal. The tally marked Kravchenko’s second point of his freshman season. For Vatrano, a redshirt sophomore, the assist was his first point in a UMass uniform.

“They were a part of it an awful lot and I thought they were much better (Saturday),” Micheletto said. “They got back to doing what they do and having a significant influence on the game. I thought those guys gave us real good minutes.”

Micheletto also noted the play of Dill, who started his third straight game in net Saturday after sitting behind senior goalie Steve Mastalerz in the season’s first two games.

Coming off a 42-save performance against Northeastern Friday, the freshman stopped 27 shots against the Eagles in his first collegiate loss.

“From a coaching standpoint, seeing a freshman respond to a two-game weekend, not knowing how it would work out for him mentally or physically, is really encouraging,” Micheletto said. “He certainly proved that he can play two games in a weekend and perform at a high level against really strong competition.”

Looking forward to next weekend’s two-game series at Maine, Micheletto said that he will continue to evaluate the goalie situation before deciding who will start each game against the Black Bears.

UMass tops Northeastern Friday

The Minutemen earned their first conference win of the season Friday night in a 3-2 triumph over Northeastern at Matthews Arena.

Senior Emerson Auvenshine broke a 2-2 tie on a goal with eight minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the game. Zack LaRue and Ray Pigozzi tallied UMass’ first two goals in a back-and-forth affair.

After allowing two goals in the opening period, Dill stifled the Huskies over the final 40 minutes and finished with 42 saves in his second career start.

“(Dill) was unbelievable Friday night,” Power said. “He gave us a chance to win, which is all you can ask for.”

Although picked to finish fourth in the preseason Hockey East coaches’ poll, Northeastern now stands at 0-4 (0-2 Hockey East). However, Power said that defeating the in-state rival on the road was significant.

“Any time that Hockey East points are on the line, we need to get them,” Power said. “This league comes down to the wire, so any time you can get points early in the season, that’s something that is a goal of ours.”

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

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