Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey’s efforts shaded by inability to finish against Maine

Minutemen outshot the Black Bears in both weekend contests but couldn’t convert in timely situations.

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UMass hockey’s efforts shaded by inability to finish against Maine

(Amelia Shaw/Daily Collegian)

(Amelia Shaw/Daily Collegian)

(Amelia Shaw/Daily Collegian)

(Amelia Shaw/Daily Collegian)

By Mollie Walker, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts hockey team was swept this weekend by Maine, falling by a score of 3-2 both Friday and Saturday night, despite appearing to outplay the Black Bears statistically.

“I thought (Saturday’s) game was very similar to (Friday),” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “The big difference in the game was finishing, we feel like we created enough scoring chances as we do most nights, but (were) unable to finish.”

In the latter of the two contests, the Minutemen outshot Maine 30-26, including a strong first frame of play that saw UMass hold the upper hand in shots, 11-5.

The second period proved to the deciding factor as the Black Bears netted two goals and held a 9-7 shot advantage. Shoddy play around the neutral zone paired with the Minutemen’s inability to stop Maine in transition showed the ice tilt in the Black Bears’ favor.

“We’re a young team that tends to get frustrated a little too easily,” Carvel said. “That’s what happened in the second period, we started turning pucks over by the blue line.”

The final period saw an even scoring effort from both teams, trading 12 shots on goal each. Down 3-1, the Minutemen cut the deficit to one by adding a power play goal at the 15-minute mark from forward John Leonard.

With goalie Ryan Wischow pulled in the final minutes, UMass could not push one past Maine netminder Jeremy Swayman, who accumulated 28 saves in his second consecutive win.

Carvel credits the Black Bears for their “opportunistic” style of play and ability to capitalize when they had the chance to, alluding to their patience and strong defensive game.

“[We’re] trying not to let it reach over to frustration, we’re trying to learn from it,” Carvel said. “That’s the one thing I think we do pretty well, when we don’t come out with a win we try to find where we can be better.”

In the first meeting of the weekend, UMass came away with a 30-24 shot advantage, as well as a 31-25 edge in faceoffs, showing the potential in evening the series for the Minutemen.

“It’s always difficult to lose both games and we know we can’t get swept, especially at home,” forward Mitchell Chaffee said Saturday. “These points were huge, we needed a win, I guess sometimes it comes out that way. We need to go back and learn from this.”

Chaffee ensures that himself and the team are not satisfied with the outcome of this weekend, as Carvel referred to the series as a “must win” after the first matchup on Friday. He hopes to see the team get hungrier around the net and feel confident in their ability to score goals.

“We’re a young team we have to come back out there and learn from them this upcoming weekend,” Chaffee said. “Build from that and take it into next weekend.”

Carvel feels UMass simply wasn’t able to maintain its opponent and despite making good plays, such as tying the game in the first period and mostly controlling puck possession, there was not a level of play that was consistently kept to pull out the win.

“We want to be rewarded,” Carvel said. “For what is usually a strong effort.”

 

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at MWalker2019.

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