Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Chaffee’s four-point night pushes No. 3 UMass to Hockey East victory

The forward scored two go-ahead goals in the action
(Caroline O’Connor / UMass Athletics)

For the first time all season, the Massachusetts hockey team trailed at the end of the first period.

After jumping out to a lead just under two minutes into the action, No. 3 UMass was stunned to find itself down by one goal at the end of the period that has frequently been its strongest.

But, thanks to the resilience and pair of goals from sophomore forward Mitchell Chaffee, the Minutemen (12-1-0, 7-0 Hockey East Association) stormed back and beat Connecticut (5-8-1, 2-6-1 HEA), 7-4.

“He’s tremendous,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said after Chaffee’s four-point night. “I think [Cale] Makar, [Mario] Ferraro, and [John] Leonard get a lot of the spotlight because they’re draft picks, but I think a lot of teams in the National Hockey League made mistakes by not taking [Chaffee] last year.

“I don’t know if there’s another player like him in our league that’s that big and strong and can score and can be physical — he’s just a horse,” Carvel added. “You love it when good things come to really good kids. He’s just one of many, many outstanding young men that we have that just does things the right way. He just puts his head down, works hard, and good things happen.

“He’s a huge part of our success as a team.”

Chaffee found his way onto the scoresheet after just two minutes when he tapped the puck out of the crease to the moving stick of Bobby Trivigno, who slammed it home for an early 1-0 lead.

After the Minutemen gave up their initial lead, Marc Del Gaizo tied the game at two on an incredible effort. Minutes later, Chaffee was back in the action and scored the go-ahead goal.

Unlike his first contribution that came as an assist on Trivigno’s opening tally, the forward was on the receiving end of an inside pass this time, which allowed him to cash in on the power play.

As Jacob Pritchard handled the puck on the advantage, the senior suddenly saw Chaffee planted in the slot, which allowed Chaffee to wind up and unleash a fierce one-timer past Adam Huska.

With the assist from Pritchard, Chaffee’s team-leading fourth power-play goal built a 3-2 lead.

After the Huskies erased the lead that the Minutemen had built on Chaffee’s goal, just 34 seconds into the final period, the Rockford, Michigan, native came up big again.

Five minutes after the UConn equalizer, at what looked like an impossible angle, Chaffee flung the puck on net from below the left dot, which managed to squeak between Huska’s legs.

“I saw [Gaudet] going to the net,” Chaffee, in his second season as line mates with Jake Gaudet and Oliver Chau, said. “I just thought I’d throw it at the net and [luckily] it snuck five-hole.”

With the lead late in the game, UMass opened the floodgates and poured on three more to make it 7-4. Chaffee was also awarded an assist on Niko Hildenbrand’s empty netter to close it out.

Backed by his pair of goals on Friday, Chaffee’s season total moves to ten, which is just three shy of the number that he scored last season to tie the team-lead in goals.

After digging deep for yet another win though, Chaffee was critical of the group’s performance, acknowledging that the outcome was not representative of how the game went down.

“It’s huge that we’re winning games even though we shouldn’t be,” he said. “We haven’t been playing the best, but we still find ways. It’s huge that our power play is doing well too.”

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

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *