Oliver Chau is off the schneid

Sophomore’s first goal counted as the overtime game-winner for UMass hockey

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(UMass Athletics / Caroline O’Connor)

By Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor

The monkey is off his back.

Eight games into his sophomore slate, Oliver Chau finally found twine in the Massachusetts hockey team’s 3-2, overtime win against Princeton.

Chau scored the game-winning goal in No. 4 UMass’ (11-1-0, 6-0-0 Hockey East Association) eighth consecutive win and kept the No. 18 Tigers (3-4-1, 3-2-1 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) winless in out-of-conference affairs.

“He’s a gifted player so he wants to make high-end plays and I think to get going he just needed to take pucks to the net and take his body to the net and he would score and get that confidence,” coach Greg Carvel said. “He’s one of three-four guys on our team that is very shift and skilled with the puck, so he wants to be that. He wants to make tricky plays, but when you haven’t scored you have to keep the game simple.”

That’s exactly what Chau did. The puck was loose with bodies all around the Princeton net but Mario Ferraro scooped it up, and hit Chau, who was driving the net, with a pass that the Oakville, Ontario native made no mistake on.

Being his first goal of the season, Chau hopes that it can spark his game moving forward.

“Definitely, but obviously it’s a team game and we’re doing really well so we just want to keep it going,” Chau said. “Keep riding the wave, you know.”

The Minutemen’s first line with Jake Gaudet, Mitchell Chaffee, and Chau was all over the puck, especially in the Princeton defensive zone, creating multiple chances throughout the 60-minute contest.

“We matched them up against Princeton’s first line which is very dangerous and I thought they did a very good job,” Carvel said. “Gaudet’s quietly done an outstanding job this year. He just plays big and heavy. Chaffee took a puck to the knee in the second period and I thought that really slowed him down the rest of the way, but he had a handful of scoring chances and he could have had a couple tonight.

“That line, I really lean on them and they’ve played together since day one. I’m not going to take them apart anytime soon.”

Missing four games with an illness earlier in the season, Chau feels the mojo is back with his linemates.

“I think we’re starting to get our chemistry back like what we had last year,” Chau said. “I think we had a lot of heavy shifts and hopefully we can keep it going…[Chaffee] and [Gaudet] really opened up a lot of room for me out there and they’ve been doing an awesome, they’re having an awesome season, both of them. It’s been great.”

Chau looked locked in from the drop of the puck Saturday, setting up teammates all night, including a couple of high-level feeds on the second power play unit.

As a freshman, Chau produced 24 points for UMass, scoring nine goals. If this is a sign of things to come, it’s good news for the Minutemen in that their scoring depth with get just a little deeper.

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.