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 hockey loses 6-5 to Northeastern in a high-scoring affair Tuesday night

(Caroline O'Connor/ Daily Collegian)
(Caroline O’Connor/ Daily Collegian)

Two days after losing a weekend series at Maine, the Massachusetts hockey team returned home on short rest and put a pretty healthy scare into heavily-favored Northeastern.

UMass’ (5-20-2, 2-12-1 Hockey East Association) offense finally broke through, however it came out on the short end of a 6-5 barn-burner to the Huskies (11-10-5, 5-8-3 HEA) Tuesday night at Mullins Center.

“I saw a lot of good signs tonight,” Minutemen coach Greg Carvel said. “I really liked how we played in Maine and I liked a lot of what we saw tonight. We knew Northeastern was a very skilled team up front and I knew if we gave them too many power plays it would be a long night for us.”

Before folks could settle in and dust off the snow, NU struck first just 52 seconds into the contest when Huskies forward Matt Filipe intercepted an egregious turnover by UMass defenseman Jake McLaughlin to take a 1-0 lead.

The Minutemen responded less than three minutes later with a goal of their own when sophomore forward Joseph Widmar smacked in a rebound off an initial shot by linemate Ryan Badger to tie the game at 1-1 at the 2:57 mark.

Not to be outdone, NU tallied their second of the evening off a power-play marker from Huskies defenseman Garrett Cockerill at 7:09 of the first.

However, anything NU could do, the Minutemen answered as freshman Jack Suter batted a slick saucer pass from sophomore Austin Plevy mid-air to knot the game back up at two apiece 9:20 into the period.

UMass got a power-play chance of its own after Huskies defenseman Jeremy Davies was assessed a cross-checking call and the Minutemen capitalized. McLaughlin wristed in a shot from the left face-off dot following a cross-ice pass from senior Ray Pigozzi to give UMass their first power play goal of 2017, as well as the 3-2 lead at 12:59.

The opening 20 minutes concluded with the Minutemen dominating in shots with 12 compared to six for the Huskies as well as holding most of pressure in the NU zone.

Goals continued to come for both squads in the second stanza as the Huskies got on the board first following a hard wrist shot from Adam Gaudette that beat Minutemen goalie Nic Renyard high glove side 2:04 into the period.

Renyard was replaced by freshman Ryan Wischow after the third NU goal.

Like in the first, UMass didn’t let the Huskies get comfortable when they scored just 1:02 later, off a tap-in goal by captain Steven Iacobellis. That marked Iacobellis’ sixth of the season with assists coming from Marc Hetnik and Pigozzi.

“We scored goals going to the net and that’s a nice change,” Carvel said. “[Iacobellis] scored two going to the net, Widmar won a battle at the net so that’s a great sign. Those are goals we haven’t been scoring and I thought the energy was great.”

The craziness carried on into the third period when Jeremy Davies drilled a shot past an outstretched Wischow and Dylan Sikura tallied a power-play strike to give the Huskies a 6-4.

Iacobellis would add another, but it was all for not as NU skated away with the victory in this wild Tuesday night showdown.

“I think we’ve been trying to drive the net the last little bit here and probably haven’t gotten a fortunate bounce, and we were lucky enough to get some of those tonight,” Iacobellis said about his line’s success. “The guys played well, it was just unfortunate how it ended tonight.”

The top-line of Iacobellis Pigozzi and Niko Hildenbrand combined for a total of seven points.

“They made plays and drove the net and scored goals that energized the team,” Carvel said about the play of his top line. “We need Iacobellis, Pigozzi, and Plevy to be guys we rely on for offense and tonight they came through.”

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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