Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Third period resurgence saves UMass in 3-3 tie at BU

Suter, Chaffee each score in third period comeback

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(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Amin Touri, Assistant Sports Editor

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Heading into the final period at Agganis Arena on Friday, things looked fairly bleak for the Massachusetts hockey team.

Down 3-1 to Boston University (15-11-3, 10-7-3 Hockey East Association), the Minutemen had played a completely lifeless second period, putting just four shots on target in the middle frame. It took a massive third period revival for the visitors to save a point, as UMass (12-16-2, 6-12-2 HEA) potted two late goals to manage a 3-3 tie.

The Minutemen looked to be down and out after two periods, but on one fortunate bounce off of Jack Suter’s stick at 2:17 of the third, everything flipped. Suter’s deflection from Austin Albrecht’s point shot skipped past Terrier goaltender Jake Oettinger’s right shoulder to cut the lead to one, and UMass had life.

“I think it was a huge goal for us,” said freshman Mitchell Chaffee. “(Suter)’s been playing well, his line’s been doing well—it was huge to kick start the period, and we really turned it around after that.”

After that much-needed jolt the Minutemen played some of their finest hockey of the season, completely dominating BU over the next 10 minutes and creating several scoring chances with the momentum firmly back on their side.

“We needed that,” said UMass coach Greg Carvel. “We’re at a point in the season where this group needs to take a step forward, and that was a big goal to give us some life, from that point on we were pretty energized.”

The breakthrough finally came with just under eight minutes to play, when Chaffee left a pretty through-the-legs drop pass for senior Niko Rufo, who fired a low shot on goal—Oettinger couldn’t smother the rebound, and Chaffee drove to the net and buried it to tie the game.

“I really liked our game-tying goal,” Carvel said. “Real poise on the entry, (Chaffee) made a real nice play, drove the net, that was a goal that we’re capable of scoring.”

The Minutemen couldn’t find the winner, either in the final minutes of regulation or in overtime, but salvaging a point on the road was huge for a team that looked to be treading water heading into the final period.

“I said let’s see if we can go out there for 20 minutes, finish every check, posses the puck, execute plays, make plays, do what we’re capable of… basic things,” Carvel said of his second intermission message to his team. “Our puck possession and our battle level increased, and we found a way to score two goals on the road.”

It was a completely different UMass team on the ice in the third, the version of the Minutemen that can hang with some of the best teams in the country. The comeback couldn’t quite produce a win, but it did provide flashes of potential for the future, as well as some confidence for a team that badly needed it.

“Going forward it’s just something to look at that, wow, we played a good 20 minutes and we came back two goals,” said freshman Mario Ferraro. “So that’s something that we say, hey, if we play 60 minutes like that, imagine what we can do. We know that we have to do what coach wanted us to do, and that was to finish our checks and get the puck behind their D and forecheck hard, and when we did that we were successful.”

UMass has a quick turnaround, hosting UMass Lowell at the Mullins Center on Saturday night.

Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.

 

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Amin_Touri.

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