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

UMass hockey knocks off New Hampshire 4-2

Marks seventh-straight win
(Caroline O’Connor/UMass Athletics)

The recipe has been the same all season for the Massachusetts hockey team: score first, strong power play and stout goaltending. Sunday afternoon, No. 4 UMass relied on the three trademarks of its game in its 4-2 win over New Hampshire at Mullins Center.

Mitchell Chaffee scored his team-leading eighth goal, while John Leonard and Jacob Pritchard each potted three points and Matt Murray made 18 saves en route to his seventh victory in net.

The Minutemen (10-1-0, 6-0-0 Hockey East Association) extended their winning streak to seven games, marking the second longest streak in program history, while their 10-1-0 clip is their best ever start to a season.

“They are a good offensive team, very concerned about them on the power play and in transition, I thought we gave them a little too much in transition,” coach Greg Carvel said. “Matt Murray played a solid game as usual, the power play was very good as usual, and it looks like the usual suspects scoring our goals, Chaffee, Pritchard, Leonard all had very good nights.”

UMass jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a power play goal from Pritchard at 6:56 of the first period. Pritchard redirected a point shot from Cale Makar to notch his fifth marker of the year.

Pritchard had a hand in the next two Minutemen scores, both on the man-advantage, setting up Leonard and Chaffee with hard drives to the Wildcat (1-6-3, 1-3-2 HEA) net.

Late in the first period, UMass won an offensive zone faceoff and Pritchard jumped right on the puck but instead of firing a backhander, he spun around and hit Leonard who tapped it into the empty cage, making it 2-0 Minutemen.

“It’s really important to score the first goal,” Carvel said. “If you get the first two usually things work out for you, a good percentage of the time. I think our guys came out ready to play tonight.”

“The mentality that we have going into games is that we want to get that first goal and get off to a good start,” Leonard added. “So, I think that’s just what we tried to do tonight, and we did a good job of it.”

About halfway through the second period, UMass found itself on the power play for the third time and again, Pritchard’s bravery led to a goal. This time it was Chaffee who was the benefactor, banging home the loose puck after Pritchard crashed the net. UNH goaltender Mike Robinson (30 saves) stopped Pritchard’s initial try but Chaffee found an opening and pushed the Minutemen’s lead to 3-0 at 8:02 of the second.

The Wildcats got on the board briefly after Chaffee’s goal following a breakaway tally from Ara Nazarian to make it 3-1. Jake McLaughlin hooked Nazarian on the breakaway, so UMass went right to the penalty kill after the goal.

“It’s a huge moment in the game,” UNH coach Mike Souza said. “We didn’t move it around, we didn’t capitalize on that power play. That could’ve changed the whole game there had we executed, we didn’t, but that’s the way it goes.”

The Wildcats seemed to have found some life after that, outplaying the Minutemen for an extended stretch in the middle frame.

With about five minutes left in the second period, UNH scored a power play goal courtesy of Charlie Kelleher, bringing the score to 3-2.

“I think they just came out a little harder to start that second period,” Leonard said. “I think we were a little bit relaxed heading into that second, which we can’t be doing no matter what the score is in the first. So, we just have to be better in situations like that and just come out harder.”

About two minutes later, Leonard beat a Wildcat defenseman to a loose puck, came in from the left side on Robinson and slipped a backhander that was saved, but Anthony Del Gaizo was tracking the play and came in and poked the loose puck in, giving UMass a 4-2 advantage and another two-goal cushion.

“We needed that,” Carvel said of Anthony Del Gaizo’s goal. “Things got a little sideways there. You get a bad hop, puck jumps over [Ivan] Chukarov’s stick, they get the breakaway [goal] then they call [Makar] for an elbow, hits him with the shoulder. In the game, things are going to add up at times against you and it took us a little while to get the game back under control but Leonard, he’s one of the guys on our team that has that ability to single-handedly change the game, change the momentum.”

It appeared Bobby Trivigno scored with under a second left in the second, but the goal was waved off.

UMass threw 13 shots to the net in the third, the most of any period, but couldn’t convert. The Minutemen had a five-minute major power play late in the period but UNH stymied the man advantage, for the first time all game.

UMass finished 3-for-4 on the power play with 12 shots in total. The Wildcats went 1-for-5 on the man-advantage with four shots.

After Thanksgiving, the Minutemen welcome No. 15 Princeton for a Saturday night battle. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m at Mullins Center.

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

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    William F McNamaraNov 18, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    So happy for this team! I’m from the class of “78 which didn’t have a team and I’m so glad to see Coach Carvel and these guys make UMass so proud! GO UMASS!!!