UMass drops second straight game in 2-1 loss on the road at Boston College

UMass drops second straight game in 2-1 loss on the road at Boston College

By Liam Flaherty

The Massachusetts hockey team could not overcome a slow start against Boston College on Tuesday night and fell to its Hockey East Association opponent 2-1 on the road at Chestnut Hill.

The Eagles (12-9-3, 12-4-0 HEA) were willed to victory by first and second period goals off the sticks of Jesper Mattila and Logan Hutsko. Freshman John Leonard put home the lone Minuteman (11-12-1, 5-8-1 HEA) goal of the night early in the second period, but his tally would not be enough to overcome their sluggish start.

“[The first] was easily our worst period of hockey this year,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “We adjusted a little bit, I thought we competed better the rest of the game. As a coach, I’m not real happy with my group tonight. We somehow made the game close but we could’ve been a lot better.”

Goaltender Matt Murray made his third straight start in net for the Minutemen, stopping 27 of the 29 shots that came his way. Tuesday’s loss marks the second in a row for the freshman netminder following Saturday’s 5-0 shutout at the hands of Northeastern.

BC got the scoring started just over twelve minutes into the first following the first UMass penalty of the night, called on junior forward Austin Plevy.

Mattila, a sophomore, capitalized with just four seconds remaining on Plevy’s minor penalty and was able to score his third of the season on a sharp wrister that was sent in from the top of the slot.

Play remained scoreless through the rest of the first, until Graham McPhee was called for tripping just 1:57 into the second and gave the Minutemen a chance to see some open ice.

Although unable to score on the actual power play, UMass built enough momentum with the extra skater that allowed Leonard a chance to bury his sixth of the season just ten seconds after its conclusion at 4:07.

Junior forward Brett Boeing sent a shot in on Eagles’ goaltender Joe Woll (20 saves) that bounced off his pads and fell into a scrum in front of the crease. When Leonard saw the sliding puck in front of the momentarily unmanned net, he slammed home a backhander and tied the game at one.

“That was a huge goal,” Carvel said. “[Leonard] is capable of being a very good offensive player and his game’s still evolving. He think he can be a game changer and there’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t have a lot of guys like him so we give him some leash to play with. He’s doing a good job.”

The Minutemen received another power play opportunity with 7:43 left in the period, but saw almost completely opposite results from that of the first try. After a dismal showing on the UMass man-advantage, that featured very few shots, the Eagles came out of the kill soaring.

With 5:12 remaining in the period, Hutsko came down the ice on a 2-on-1, put a deke on Murray and carefully placed a shot high over his glove side and into the back of the net to score the game-winner.

The Minutemen saw a handful of chances in the third, but failed to overcome the deficit. Carvel pulled Murray with just over a minute left to play, but to no avail.

“Our execution tonight with the puck was poor,” Carvel said. “We had numbers up the ice, 3-on-2’s, 4-on-3’s, where if you make plays, we’re better than that. We should’ve had more scoring chances so that was frustrating as well. Boston College was definitely the better team tonight.”


Liam Flaherty can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.