COLUMBUS, OHIO—Ready or not, here come the Minutemen.
The Massachusetts hockey team knocked off No. 1 Ohio State, 6-3, Friday night at Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center.
Freshman Bobby Trivigno scored twice and sophomore goalie Matt Murray made 35 saves to propel UMass (3-0-0) to its upset over the top-ranked Buckeyes (2-1-0).
The Minutemen victory marks the first time they’ve defeated the No. 1 team in the country since Feb. 10, 2012 when they beat Boston University, 3-2.
“I’m very happy for my guys,” coach Greg Carvel said. “This was obviously a huge test for us, it was a huge test of our culture and it’s very rewarding because this group of kids has really sacrificed and made a huge commitment to build this program.”
Sophomore defenseman Cale Makar topped UMass skaters with three points (goal, two assists) while senior Brett Boeing also recorded two points (goal, assist).
“There’s no doubt in my mind that we can compete with anyone in this league.” Murray said, “I thought we were great tonight.”
The Minutemen took it to Ohio State early, getting out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes and then a 3-0 advantage shortly into the second period.
“Every single game we play, we want to come out hard,” Trivigno said. “That’s part of our identity —, fast, hard, prepared, so that did play a big role in the outcome of the game.”
UMass’ power play stepped up in a big way Friday night, going 2-for-5, with both tallies proving to be critical.
“They’re not pretty right, you just throw pucks on net and half the time it’s going to land on your stick half the time it’s going to land on their [sticks],” said Carvel.
Four of the five goalscorers for the Minutemen registered their first of season while continuing UMass’ streak of scoring a goal in every period of play to date.
Boeing started the scoring when he took control of the puck in the neutral zone with speed and beat the Ohio State defenseman wide and flicked a shot past Buckeye goalie Sean Romeo’s blocker.
The Minutemen struck again on the power play to double the score to 2-0. Following clean movement on the man-advantage, Jacob Pritchard let a shot rip from the high slot and Leonard was perched on the right post and ready to clean home the rebound.
Trivigno joined the party when he scored at 6:19 of the second period. Playing 4-v-4, Trivigno intercepted a Buckeye cross-ice pass, gained the Ohio State zone and snapped a shot past Romeo to make it 3-0.
“I like to use my speed and tenaciousness, so the puck hopped out of the zone and I saw their two [defensemen] back, so I kind of just took away the pass,” Trivigno said of his first collegiate goal. “I think he whiffed on the pass and I got a mini-breakaway, almost, and I thought I’d put it far side, right through the 7-hole where it’s a tough save.”
“He’s forced us to keep moving him up the lineup,” added Carvel of Trivigno. “He just finds a way to get things done. We knew that’s what he was, we knew he was going to be a scrappy little guy that scores goals and draws penalties and can kill penalties and can play on the power play. He is a hell of a hockey player.”
The Buckeyes broke through in the latter stages of the second period on a Carson Meyer penalty shot marker, bringing Ohio State within two at 3-1. The referees deemed Makar tripped Meyer on a breakaway and the Buckeye converted.
Meyer notched his second of the night just seconds into a late Ohio State power play in the middle stanza. Meyer snuck behind Marc Del Gaizo just off the left post and buried a feed from Tanner Laczynski.
“It’s just stuff you got to shake off,” Murray said about adjusting into the third period. “You can’t control what the scoreboard says, you just got to make sure the number doesn’t keep going up.”
UMass potted its second power play goal of the night off Philip Lagunov’s first of the season. Mario Ferraro unleashed a hard slap shot from the point that missed the net but the puck landed right on Lagunov’s stick and No. 17 made no mistake, upping the score to 4-2.
It appeared the Buckeyes responded with a goal of their own but after a lengthy review it was determined they scored with a high stick.
Dakota Joshua made his shot count for Ohio State, scoring quickly after the overturned Buckeye goal, making it a one goal game at 4-3.
The Minutemen didn’t relent however, as Trivigno slotted his second of the night off a 2-on-1 odd-man rush and Makar added an empty netter to seal the upset victory for UMass.
“Our character and culture is through the roof,” said Trivigno. “It starts with Carvel and then it goes all the way down through the whole program.”
Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.