Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass’ 5-4 Game 1 win revealed areas that need work moving forward

Limiting scoring off the rush and scoring first goal key

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UMass’ 5-4 Game 1 win revealed areas that need work moving forward

(Photo by Jon Asgeirsson)

(Photo by Jon Asgeirsson)

(Photo by Jon Asgeirsson)

(Photo by Jon Asgeirsson)

By Ryan Ames, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Massachusetts hockey team won the game, but it was closer than it would have liked.

No. 3 UMass (27-8-0) beat New Hampshire 5-4 in double overtime in Game 1 of the Hockey East quarterfinals at Mullins on Friday night, yet the Wildcats (12-14-9) nearly upset the Minutemen on their home ice.

UNH jumped out to a 3-0 advantage with three goals in the second period alone. UMass clawed back to make it 3-2 but the Wildcats answered with another to make it 4-2.

The Minutemen eventually pulled out the win on Mitchell Chaffee’s deflection in double overtime, however the game was too close for Greg Carvel’s liking.

“We don’t give up a lot of chances and we’re giving up way too many goals,” Carvel said. “The shots were 53-28, it shouldn’t have been a 5-4 game.”

Three of the four goals UNH scored came off the rush and in transition. Two of them beat Matt Murray and one got by Filip Lindberg. The other was a fluke that bounced off Cale Makar’s skate on a bouncing puck.

“They’re very good on the rush,” Carvel said. “They’re as good a team in this league, scoring on the rush. We’ll address it again but that was my concern going into the game was preventing them from scoring on the rush and we didn’t do a very good job at it.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board and hopefully be better tomorrow night,” Carvel added.

Conversely, UMass took the opposite approach in how its goals were scored as three of the five were in tight around UNH goalie Mike Robinson. One came from a point shot off a faceoff win and the other on Chaffee’s redirection from the high slot.

The Minutemen also strived to come out of the game strong and although it remained scoreless after 20 minutes of action, UMass was the better team in the opening frame.

Jake Gaudet owned the best opportunity for UMass on the power play, tipping the puck just wide after being parked in front of the cage.

The Minutemen finished with a 10-5 shot advantage in the opening period but failed to get it past Robinson when the ice was heavily titled in their favor.

“I would say we did have a good start,” Chaffee said. “It’s just scoring that first goal. Sometimes it’s not gonna come easy, you got to get the goalies eyes. They have a good goalie so you got to keep funneling pucks to the net.”

“It’s super important for us to come out tomorrow night and really set the tone early,” Carvel added, “and not make the same mistakes we made tonight and get some saves. Every game is a grind. It’s one-versus-eight but that doesn’t matter.”

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

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