Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Carvel hopes to see more energy from his team against Boston College

No. 19 BC travels to the Mullins Center for Hockey East rematch

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(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Mollie Walker, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts hockey team prepares for a rematch against No. 19 ranked Boston College this Thursday after falling 2-1 last month against a highly competitive Eagles team.

“When we played [BC] last time, we were a pretty tired team,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “[BC] hadn’t played in 10 days, so we felt that it was a factor in the game. Not saying that we deserved to win by any stretch, they played well.”

The Minutemen’s loss to the Eagles was the second defeat in what would arguably be the lowest point of their season, part of an eventual six-game losing streak. After splitting the series with Northeastern on Jan. 19 and 20, Carvel felt UMass did not play up to their opponents.

“The problem with my team,” Carvel said in the post-game press conference at Conte Forum, “being as young as we are and lacking leadership and veteran players, is that we come into places like this with good hockey teams, and we’re a little too respectful.”

With a tie against No. 20 Boston University and a shutout win against UMass Lowell, Carvel is hoping to see some confident play out of UMass now that its proven its capable of defeating high-caliber teams.

Carvel credits UMass’ sluggish first game against BC to the lack of energy on the bench and in the arena, as it was a Tuesday night matchup and the fact that Cale Makar was out of the lineup due to an injury he sustained soon after his return from the World Junior Championship.

“We expect a different vibe coming out. We’ve played well here at home, and hopefully we get a good crowd,” Carvel said. “Hopefully a bunch of factors will add up and hopefully the guys are playing more confident now, combination of all that will be good.”

In their previous matchup the Eagles struck first at 12:17 in the first period off a Jesper Mattila power play goal. John Leonard pulled even at 4:07 for UMass in the middle frame before Logan Hutsko netted the game-winning goal at the very end of the second. Both teams went scoreless in the final period.

The Minutemen were outshot 29-21 and went 0-for-2 on their man-advantage opportunities, while BC had a 28-18 face-off edge and notched first place in Hockey East as a result of the victory.

“Certain programs are continually in the upper realms. BC is one of them. I think [UMass] goes in and they’re going to stick their toe instead of diving in,” Carvel said. “At this point in the season, it shouldn’t be a concern because we’ve played enough teams. This is just another one that we’d like to put this notch under our belt.”

“It’s the league this year, the parity of the league is pretty crazy, they’re all tough games,” he added.

Carvel is happy to see unfamiliar scorers emerge from his roster, easing the pressure off of Leonard and Mitchell Chaffee who have given a great deal of offensive power. He looked to his defenseman to contribute on offense as well as his third and fourth liners.

With Niko Hildenbrand netting goals one and three in the victory over UMass Lowell, Griff Jezka and Jack Suter contributing in the tie with Boston University, Carvel is watching the depth of his roster grow.

“The games we win are usually when our third and fourth lines get goals,” Carvel said. “When those guys get to scoring goals, it helps a lot.”

Goaltender Matt Murray turned aside nine shots on goal each period for 27 total saves in the first meeting with BC. The freshman has found himself between the pipes in the last three games with Carvel seeming sure he’ll extend that streak given his recent play.

“I thought on Saturday, it was a team shutout, but he looked really comfortable in net,” Carvel said. “When the pucks are hitting your goalie and he’s holding on to them and he’s controlling rebounds—he’s just very calm in his movements—then you get a good feeling.”

Murray believes UMass competed well with the Eagles in the first encounter and will have a better understanding of what is to be expected out of BC the second time around. The freshman feels like he has proved himself this season and has earned all of his time in net.

“They’re a good team, I think it was a close game and I feel like if we keep playing the way we have been we should be fine,” Murray said. “You just got to battle and out work them and give everything we can.

“I just have to keep making sure that I’m the hardest working person on the ice and giving my team a chance to win when I have that opportunity,” he added.

The rematch commences at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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

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