UMass wins Game 1, 5-4, on Chaffee’s double overtime-winner

Minutemen trailed 3-1 at the start of the third period

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UMass wins Game 1, 5-4, on Chaffee’s double overtime-winner

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

By Liam Flaherty, Collegian Staff

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Spurred by Mitchell Chaffee’s game-winner in double overtime, the Massachusetts hockey team downed New Hampshire, 5-4, on Friday to take Game 1 of the Hockey East quarterfinals.

Trailing 3-0 near the end of the second period at the Mullins Center, No. 3 (27-8-0) UMass scored five of the next six tallies before Chaffee capped the comeback less than six minutes into the second overtime.

After the Minutemen held the Wildcats (12-14-9) to just six shots in the overtime periods, Ty Farmer put a shot on Mike Robinson (48 saves) that Chaffee deflected in to earn the third overtime win of the year.

“I went around the net and just remember going up to the point,” No. 21 said of the winner. “Ty had a good shot that I found my way to tip and luckily it went through. I didn’t see it go in at first, but as soon as I saw that it went in, I was of course pretty happy about a long game. It’s a huge win to take this one.”

Bobby Trivigno and Jacob Pritchard each posted three points in the win. Trivigno scored a pair of goals to push his season total to 11, while Pritchard, Chaffee, and Cale Makar each secured one of their own.

Filip Lindberg made 13 saves in the victory after replacing Matt Murray (11 saves) in the second period.

“Very proud of my team. Very resilient,” coach Greg Carvel said. “Even down 3-0, I don’t think any of us felt it was out of reach. We just needed to break the ice and I thought in overtime we were dominant.”

“We knew we were playing well, but we were making mistakes that just can’t happen and that’s how we got down three goals,” Chaffee added. “We have a good group and we know that we can come back — we’ve done it before. We know what we need to do, we just need to stick to that, and it worked out.”

The Minutemen came firing out of the gates but could not capitalize on their initial energy.

Following a scoreless first period, the Wildcats found the first tally of the best-of-three series in the second period when Brendan van Riemsdyk beat Murray on a broken rush in the slot to make it 1-0.

Less than a minute later, UNH capitalized on the rush yet again, as Angus Crookshank made it 2-0.

Ten minutes later, the Wildcats extended their advantage when Chris Miller scored his first of the game, making it 3-0 on the rush and putting the final nail in the coffin for Murray who was pulled thereafter.

Down by a trio of goals with just 21 minutes left in regulation, Trivigno provided UMass with the spark it desperately needed, as he buried a rebound that came as a result of a shot from Pritchard in the corner.

“Getting the first goal was huge,” Chaffee said. “It was huge of Bobby to be in front of the net.”

With a hint of life, the Minutemen continued to plug away at the start of the third.

Just over a minute in, the second line of Pritchard-Lagunov-Trivigno came up big once again.

After Philip Lagunov started the play behind Robinson, Trivigno wrapped around the net and slid a pass across the crease to Pritchard who found the handle and swiftly put it home to cut the deficit to one.

Four minutes after Pritchard’s goal, Miller’s second of the night rebuilt a two-goal lead for UNH.

UMass was quick to respond, however, as the second line continued to make its presence felt.

When Lagunov looped a pass around the boards to Pritchard behind the net, the transfer found Trivigno with space in front of Robinson and set up a one-timer that he buried, cutting the deficit back to one.

“It just kind of felt like we kept it simple,” Trivigno said of the second line’s success. “We just tried funneling pucks to the net and getting bodies in front of the goalie’s eyes and it ended up working out.”

After pulling within a goal for the second time, the Minutemen did not let UNH get off easy this time.

Nearly four minutes after Trivigno’s second of the night, Makar took the puck at the blue line, created a shooting lane and unleashed a rocket that flew past Robinson and a slew of defenders to knot it at four.

Both teams could not find the back of the net through the remainder of regulation. In overtime, it was much of the same. With fatigue setting in, UMass found the bounce it had been searching for all night.

Six minutes into the second overtime, Chaffee found the gritty goal and ended the four-hour marathon.

“This is a special group and we’ve done this before,” the sophomore forward said. “It’s a huge character game to bounce back but tomorrow we have to learn from this and come out and get the first goal.”

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