UMass hockey falls to No. 11 Boston University 7-2

By Jason Kates

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Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian

Five unanswered goals from No. 11 Boston University sank the Massachusetts hockey team 7-2 Saturday night at Agganis Arena, handing the Minutemen their second straight defeat.

A natural hat trick from Terriers (11-6-3, 5-3-2 Hockey East) forward Matt Grzelcyk was the difference maker , scoring three straight after UMass (7-10-4, 2-5-4 HEA) captain Steven Iacobellis had tied the game at two with six minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the second period.

“I thought it was a really good college hockey game for about 35 minutes,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “Obviously, we had a good game plan and looked pretty diligent with it in the early going. We got the first goal, eliminated a lot of their offensive opportunities and even when they jumped out 2-1 we answered right away.”

Micheletto emphasized Grzelcyk’s first two goals as game changers, then lamented a stick infraction committed by the Minutemen that led to the fourth goal.

“The two goals there in the second half of the second period put us in a bad spot, particularly the power play we gave up in the neutral zone that allowed them to get to 4-2,” he said. “Those were preventable goals and we just didn’t tend to the details like we were, and unfortunately those two opportunities found the back of the net.”

“Down two goals in the third period on the road against a good team is difficult to come back from,” Micheletto added.

Grzelcyk’s goals were followed up by tallies from Robbie Baillargeon and Jordan Greenway, marking the fifth time this season the Minutemen have given up more than five goals in a game.

The Minutemen didn’t to produce any goals on their power play, failing to score on all four attempts. UMass has now converted only two man advantage opportunities in their last 11 tries.

Although his team hasn’t been as successful with the man advantage the past few games, Micheletto still believes the power play is trending in the right direction.

“We scored a couple power play goals in the last two games which we hadn’t done in a while so I do think we’re on the upswing again,” Micheletto said. “We hit a bit of a dry spell there where neither the power play nor five-on-five offense was clicking as successively as it was in the early going, and I think in the last couple of games we’ve seen that and I liked a lot of the five-on-five offense that we created against BU last night.”

He added: “The power play specifically last night I thought we didn’t gain possession nearly as much as we can or should have, either on the entry or on the possession to get us into our set plays.”

Shane Walsh got the scoring going 2:50 into the game, recording his team-high 14th goal of the year. BU responded at the end of the opening period, knotting the score at one courtesy of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson.

Iacobellis and linemate Ray Pigozzi each recorded multi-point games, with Pigozzi chipping in assists on both UMass goals.

Despite the return of William Lagesson, who returned from playing with Sweden in this year’s World Junior Championships, UMass still failed to keep it close against a top ranked team.

“We’re hoping that as we continue on here in the second half that we start winning some of these,” he said. “We had William Lagesson back after a long road trip and that was certainly a help. Getting our goaltending situation healthy and getting back to full strength both on the (defensive)-core as well as getting Dennis Kravchenko back up front will certainly help when that happens.”

In the meantime, Micheletto said UMass can’t “circle the wagons and hope that teams take pity on them.”

“Yeah it’s a concern, but we’re dealing with it head on. We wanna make sure we’re going at least .500 on the road in league competition here in the second half of the year, so we’ve gotta take two of the last three road league games in order to reach those goal,” Micheletto said.

“Last night was one loss and we’re gonna certainly dissect it and watch video and learn from it, but it’s no more than that, just one loss at this point.”

Jason Kates can be reached at [email protected] and followed @Jason_Kates.