Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey falls short against Yale in 5-3 loss Friday

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(Amelia Shaw/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts hockey team fought to achieve a comeback win on Friday night but ultimately couldn’t regain its early lead, losing 5-3 to Yale on the road.

After conceding an early goal, UMass (9-8-0, 3-4-0 Hockey East Association) scored two first period tallies of its own and bolstered a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of play. However, the Bulldogs (7-8-0, 4-6-0 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) quickly tied the game and took a lead in the second, before adding insurance in the third that would combat a resurgent effort by the Minutemen.

“I actually thought we were playing fine in the first few minutes of the second period, but then we got careless with the puck,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “I thought Yale did a good job of taking the momentum from us.”

Minuteman forward Oliver Chau had two points in the game, a goal and an assist on the power play, that extended his team-leading point total to 17 on the season.

“His puck possession and what he was able to do with the puck was really impressive,” Carvel said. “At one point you wondered ‘OK he’s getting points consistently, but can he keep that up?’. The way he played tonight I’m pretty confident he’s gonna continue to score points. He was easily our best forward tonight on the ice.”

Freshman goaltender Matt Murray, who saw his first start in net since Nov. 11 at Providence, stopped 33 total shots on the night and kept UMass within striking distance.

Yale was fueled by goals from Luke Stevens, JM Piotrowski, Adam Larkin and a pair from Joe Snively.

Just under four minutes into the game, the Bulldogs put themselves on the board when Stevens fired one past Murray.

Jack Suter responded quickly and scored his second goal of the season, when Niko Hildenbrand sent a slap shot towards the net that Suter managed to tip in past Corbin Kaczperski (22 saves).

Chau got into the mix just eight minutes later, scoring his team-high eighth of the season at 13:25 to put the Minutemen ahead 2-1 on the man-advantage.

“I thought our power play was pretty good tonight,” Carvel said. “We were able to create some offense off it and that’s a step forward because we weren’t doing that much first semester.”

In the second, the momentum quickly shifted to Yale’s side of the ice, as Piotrowski tied things up at two just under seven minutes into the period.

Ten minutes and a barrage of Bulldog shots later, UMass found itself down 3-2. At 17:14, Larkin scored his first goal of the season and put Yale ahead going into the final period.

The Bulldogs added another goal off the stick of Snively midway through the third to increase its lead to three.

The Minutemen made things interesting when Jake Gaudet scored his second goal in as many games and cut the deficit to just one with 8:50 left in the period.

But the late revival of UMass would not be enough, as Snively added his second of the game and ninth of the season on an empty net to put Yale ahead 5-3 with just over a minute left.

With Friday’s loss, the Minutemen conclude their out-of-conference schedule with a 6-4 record. From this point on, UMass’ schedule will only feature teams from Hockey East.

UMass will be back in action Saturday night as it travels to play UMass Lowell.

Forward Niko Rufo will not play in the game against the Riverhawks, said Carvel, due to an injury he sustained early in Friday’s game.

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. 

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

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