Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass gets blanked by No. 8 Quinnipiac

The Minutemen were dealt their first loss since Oct. 20

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UMass gets blanked by No. 8 Quinnipiac

(Caroline O'Connor / UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor / UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor / UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor / UMass Athletics)

By Mollie Walker, Assistant Sports Editor

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HAMDEN, CT–It had to happen sometime.

Five days since earning the No. 1 ranking in the USCHO poll and riding a nine-game winning streak into Friday’s contest, the Massachusetts hockey team was dealt its first loss since Oct. 20, falling to No. 8 Quinnipiac 4-0 in the People’s United Center.

The loss counts as the first time the Minutemen (12-2-0, 7-0-0 Hockey East Association) have been shutout this whole season.

“[Quinnipiac] played hard and we weren’t quite ready to compete at that level,” coach Greg Carvel said. “Believe me, we came into this game highly respectful of our opponent. I was scared to death of this team, I know how well they’re playing and I know how well they’re coached.

“I think we had a handful of guys who weren’t ready to play tonight and their goaltender played extremely well.”

For the Bobcats (14-2-0, 6-2-0 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference), netminder Andrew Shortridge simply put on a clinic for the full 60 minutes. The junior accumulated 32 saves, including 15 in the final frame alone, refusing to give the Minutemen even an inch of space.

UMass was outshot in two of the three periods, finishing behind 32-26 in shots on goal. Both teams failed to capitalize on special team opportunities. Although Carvel believes that the Minutemen simply didn’t have their heads in Hamden.

“I used to tell the guys all the time, the game comes down to puck decisions and puck battles,” Carvel said. “I don’t think our puck decisions were necessarily bad tonight, we could’ve executed a little better and made some plays, but it came down to puck battles and [Quinnipiac’s] were better.”

The Bobcats set the tone early with heavy pressure, striking just 42 seconds into the game on a Wyatt Bongiovanni snipe that blew past UMass goaltender Filip Lindberg to welcome him back to the ice for the first time in three games.

Quinnipiac drew two penalties in the first frame but failed to capitalize on either opportunity. In roughly the last minute of the first, Lindberg was forced to make three saves on more than one odd-man rush by the Bobcats. His chest, pad saves, along with the crossbar kept the Minutemen in it.

UMass came out of the first intermission with a little more control and poise, creating quality scoring chances but failing to finish. A scuffle in front of Shortridge prompted Carvel to challenge the play, but the ‘no goal’ call stood.

At the 12:56 mark, Quinnipiac doubled its score off the faceoff. A sharp pass from the corner found Zach Metsa all by himself for a one-timer past Lindberg who was stationed on the other side of the cage.

Craig Martin put a dagger in the Minutemen at the 16:37 mark in the final frame as he flipped the puck over Lindberg after getting the feed right in front of the crease. The deal was officially sealed when Lindberg was pulled with just over three minutes remaining and Martin connected for the second time on the empty cage.

“I think our teams play very similarly in all parts of the rink,” Carvel said. “I knew our guys were going to have to be patient but it’s tough when you go down one-nothing right away.

“Our game plan didn’t change, I liked our game plan, just that they executed better than we did,” he added. “I think they won those little battles and that was the difference.”

Ty Farmer, Bobby Trivigno, Oliver Chau and Mitchell Chaffee lead the Minutemen with three shots on goal each while Lindberg finished with 22 stops.

Carvel is somewhat happy to get this loss out of the way, noting how the team will have another opportunity Saturday night in the Mullins Center.

“You get [the high ranking] and next thing you know we have all these interviews and all this media attention, it’s hard not to have guys get too comfortable or big headed or whatever,” Carvel said. “Sometimes it’s good to lose, I’m glad it was a non-conference game, you don’t lose any league points. And I’m glad we get to play them again tomorrow night.”

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MWalker2019.

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