Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey unable to hold off Boston College at home in 5-2 loss

Minutemen drop eighth straight to Eagles

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(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Liam Flaherty, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts hockey team jumped on Boston College early Thursday night but couldn’t hold on in a 5-2 Hockey East Association loss at the Mullins Center.

Jake Gaudet came out of the gates firing for the Minutemen (13-17-2, 7-13-2 Hockey East) and got a bouncing puck to go on the first shot of the game, but the Eagles (15-13-3, 15-6-0 HEA) tied things up 1-1, just four minutes later. George Mika gave UMass its second tally of the night halfway through the middle frame, but a slew of BC goals following a five-minute major on Griff Jeszka made the difference.

Matt Murray made 26 stops and looked solid through 40-minutes in net, but the freshman was helpless to turn away all five minutes of penalty time against the first-place team in Hockey East.

“I thought the difference in the game was BC buried their chances and we didn’t,” Minutemen coach Greg Carvel said. “It’s frustrating, but I give them credit. They’re a skilled team. We gave them time and space in the offensive zone and they made us pay.”

Carvel was less than pleased with the five-minute major Jeszka was whistled for at 4:20 of the third, as well as the five total calls that went against UMass, opposed to the one that went in its favor.

“The one power play we got should’ve been a five-minute major, a violent hit to the head,” he said following the game. “And the five-minute major we got was hardly a penalty.”

Gaudet got things started for the Minutemen just 36 seconds following the opening faceoff, as he brought the puck down on Eagle netminder Joseph Woll (28 saves) and snapped a wrister that took a funky bounce over Woll’s left pad.

The Eagles were quick to respond four minutes later however, when Jacob Tortora fed off the energetic end of a BC power play and wristed one along the goal line over Murray’s right shoulder.

Mika scored his third of the season at 11:57 of the second and gave UMass its second lead of the night. After Niko Hildenbrand made a nice play along the boards, John Leonard fed a pass to Mika that the freshman backhanded over the stick hand of Woll.

Leonard left the game moments after Mika’s goal and never returned to the ice. “He’s the only guy on our team that scoring comes easy to, so that’s a big loss for us,” Carvel said.

Play remained scoreless throughout the rest of the period and into the third, until Jeszka was hit with the game-changing five-minute call for contact to the head.

On the extended man-advantage, Logan Hutsko sent a pass over to David Cotton that allowed the sophomore to put the tying goal behind Murray.

Seven minutes after the equalizer at 14:08, BC took a 3-2 lead on Jesper Mattila’s fourth of the season, which came from an odd-man rush following a Minuteman turnover in their offensive zone.

Mattila’s twin brother, Julius, added insurance to the late Eagles late lead just forty seconds after the game-winner, netting his eighth of the season to put the game out of reach. With the net empty minutes later, he added his second of the game to close the door on the Minutemen.

“We have to work real hard to score goals and I thought we did a little bit better of a job tonight,” Carvel said. “But BC scored to go ahead 3-2 and I think we had the same exact chance right after but put it in [Woll’s] chest. That’s the difference. Our team works hard, they play hard, but we have to work hard to score too.”

 

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

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