The Massachusetts hockey team came out of the gates against Boston College Friday night fast and with a purpose.
UMass (5-17-1, 2-9-1 Hockey East) put the pedal to the medal for the first five minutes of the game, pressuring BC (15-9-2, 10-3-1 HEA) goalie Ryan Edquist with extended offensive zone time.
Unfortunately for the Minutemen, that was the only positive aspect of a 6-1 drubbing at the Conte Forum.
“As a coach it’s a little frustrating tonight because we’re seeing certain mistakes being made,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “Again, you can have breakdowns and still be able to recover and find ways to prevent the teams from scoring.”
David Cotton broke the deadlock for the Eagles at 12:32 of the first period tapping the puck into a wide open cage following a great pass from linemate Austin Canngelosi.
Less than two minutes later, freshman Julius Mattila doubled BC’s lead to two when he snapped a one-timer that eluded Minutemen starting goaltender Ryan Wischow.
That tally proved to be the game-winner as UMass only found the back of the net once off a nifty deke and shot from Minutemen senior Ray Pigozzi at 7:53 of the middle frame.
“I don’t think so,” Pigozzi said if he thought their two goals killed the momentum at the start. “When you play teams as skilled as that your margin of error has to be very small to stick with them. We had few mental lapses there and they were able to capitalize. I don’t think it killed our energy.”
“In a breakdown situation to me the defense has to cover the backside for the goalie, and hopefully the goalie can handle the shot from the strong side,” Carvel said referencing the first Eagle goal.
BC scored once more before the first buzzer sounded giving the Eagles a commanding three goal lead heading into the second period.
With time winding down, BC sophomore Chris Brown corralled the puck in the right corner and flung it out in front of Wischow where it hit a few bodies and found twine. The goal came with only five seconds left and was a back-breaking marker for UMass’ confidence level.
“I think the third [BC goal] with five seconds, the guy just threw the puck out of the corner and it hit Trento,” Carvel said.
It concluded a period that looked promising, but ended with a fluky goal and the Minutemen in a significant deficit after only 20 minutes of play.
“What I saw in the first period is what I saw in the second and third,” Carvel said. “They do a good job, they’re a skilled team. They get pucks to the net, we don’t get pucks to the net. It’s now a skill teams defend so well, it’s hard to get the puck to the net. It takes skill to get the puck to the goaltender, and they do a good job with that.”
UMass was outshot 14-1 by the Eagles in the first and Wischow only lasted the opening period as he was replaced by sophomore Nic Renyard in the second stanza.
Wischow finished with 11 saves.
Putting together a complete 60 minute effort continues to be a struggle for this young Minutemen team, however Carvel and Pigozzi still walked away with some high-points in this otherwise underwhelming contest.
“I didn’t mind our effort tonight,” Carvel said. “I thought our guys competed hard.”
“I think here and there we let some goals in that we wish we could take back,” Pigozzi said. “Overall I felt our energy was there and overall we were decent tonight.”
Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.