Boston University hands UMass hockey its fifth straight loss with 3-2 win

Minutemen couldn’t convert on any of their 16 shots in the first period.


(Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor

It wasn’t for a lack of trying in the Massachusetts hockey team’s 3-2 loss to Boston University Friday night.

UMass (11-15-1, 5-11-1 Hockey East Association) unleashed a plethora of shots in the first 20 minutes and were outworking the Terriers (14-11-2, 10-7-2 Hockey East) for a majority of the frame, but the Minutemen couldn’t beat BU netminder Jake Oettinger with any of the 16 shots they threw to the net.

“Oettinger was excellent in the first period,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “He stole the game in the first period.”

Instead it was the Terriers who capitalized with a goal on a beautiful tic-tac-toe marker from defenseman Brandon Hickey, seconds after Hickey escaped the penalty box, giving BU the upper hand.

“To be up 1-0 was almost criminal in the first period,” Terrier coach David Quinn said. “But we’ve been on that side of it so I’m not going to apologize.”

The Minutemen tied the score seconds into the second period on freshman John Leonard’s eighth goal of the season.

On the power play, UMass worked the puck around the perimeter until defenseman Mario Ferraro fed forward Mitchell Chaffee low, who one-touched the puck to Leonard and the Amherst native snapped it blocker side past Oettinger, knotting it up at one 33 seconds into the period.

It appeared the Minutemen had taken the lead when senior Jake Horton wristed a shot high past Oettinger a little over halfway through the period, but after review it was deemed the Terrier netminder was interfered with and the goal was overturned.

Reenergized with the score still tied, BU forward Jordan Greenway reupped the Terriers lead on it’s only man-advantage of the night, a couple minutes after Horton’s goal was overturned, on a backhand shot that trickled in past UMass goalie Matt Murray at 14:17.

The Terriers potted the next goal, which turned out to be the game-winner, when forward Shane Bowers wristed the puck through Murray’s five-hole, giving BU a 3-1 advantage just under halfway into the third period.

Redshirt senior Niko Rufo notched his seventh goal of the season at 12:04 following an impressive effort by freshman Philip Lagunov attacking Oettinger.

In an almost mirror image of last weekend’s games against Maine, the Minutemen had opportunities to even the score with Murray pulled late in the game, but just couldn’t solve Oettinger when it truly counted.

“Obviously (BU’s) a very good team and they play hard but I think when we’re dominating and playing well we’re a very hard team to beat. We just got to bear down on our chances,” Leonard said. “We got to get hungrier around the net and be able capitalize on the chances in front.”

Outshot 39-22 by the Terriers, including 18-3 in the final frame, UMass struggled to get pucks to the BU cage, especially during the power play where the Minutemen finished with only two shots on four man-advantage opportunities.

“Yeah we’re on the same power play, Leonard and I, and we have set plays that we run and then we’re free to do whatever we want,” freshman Cale Makar, who returned to the Minutemen lineup after missing the past three games, said. “The seams that we see are the seams we’re going to take, but unfortunately none of us are very selfish so whatever’s open we’ll take it.”

Friday night’s contest at the Mullins Center continued UMass’ trend of its inability to pressure the oppositions cage in fights for loose pucks as a far more physically-mature Terrier team prevented the Minutemen from getting in close.

“I think the big issue for our team is around the net, putting pucks away around the net,” Carvel said. “The shots in the second and the third were highly disadvantaged towards us but I don’t think that’s how the game was. I liked our game for 60 minutes.

Now faced with a reeling New Hampshire team up next, UMass hopes it can end its slide Saturday night in Durham.

It’s been a couple games since we’ve been able to come out with some points here, so obviously we played well tonight but it wasn’t enough,” Leonard said. “(Saturday) we got to come out with a win and we just got to do the right things and the rest will take care of itself.”


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