No. 3 UMass overcomes early deficit, downs No. 10 Northeastern on the road

Four second period goals willed the 6-3 comeback win

No.+3+UMass+overcomes+early+deficit%2C+downs+No.+10+Northeastern+on+the+road

Collegian File Photo

By Liam Flaherty, Assistant Sports Editor

The Massachusetts hockey team potted four straight second period goals to overcome an early two-goal deficit, as the Minutemen downed No. 10 Northeastern 6-3 on Friday at Matthews Arena.

In the first half of the home-and-home set, the Huskies (4-2-1, 1-1 Hockey East) jumped out to a lightning fast start with two goals in the first seven minutes, but No. 3 UMass wouldn’t go away.

Bobby Trivigno cut the deficit in half near the end of the first period to shift the momentum, as the Minutemen (5-1, 1-1 HEA) began to commandeer the pace of play in the final 10 minutes.

They built on their upbeat response from the get-go in the second period, scoring four straight goals to flip the script entirely. Filip Lindberg shut the door in the final 15 minutes to solidify the comeback win. The sophomore made 27 saves in net, securing his third win of the season in as many starts.

With the win, the Minutemen garnered their first victory at Matthews in Greg Carvel’s tenure.

“We hadn’t won a game here since I’ve been head coach at UMass,” Carvel said, “so we came in here with a pretty good mindset of how we needed to play. We reset in the second period and decided we were going to play a certain brand of hockey. It was simple, hard, get to the net, make them make mistakes, be physical, and we took the game over in the second.”

After getting two shots on NU netminder Craig Pantano (15 saves) off the opening faceoff win, UMass’ hopes of a fast start were quickly diminished when Reed Lebster was whistled for a hold just over a minute into the first. Maneuvering the point, Jordan Harris threw a puck on net that New Hampshire transfer Brendan van Riemsdyk tipped in for his first of the year, making it 1-0. The tally marks the first powerplay goal allowed by UMass this year, breaking the perfect 26-of-26 streak.

Lindberg’s glove save on T.J. Walsh at the 5:45 mark kept it a one-goal game, but not for long.

A minute later, Grant Jozefek cashed in on a 2-on-1 rush to make it 2-0 for the Huskies. With Zach Solow aside him, Jozefek patiently waited out Gianfranco Cassaro and elected to shoot.

Facing a two-goal deficit in their least favorable road barn, the Minutemen showed character.

With four minutes to go, Trivigno gave UMass the jolt it needed with an individual effort that spurred the turnaround, stealing the puck from Julian Kislin at center ice and bearing down on Pantano. He started forehand then went to his backhand to pull within one after the slow start.

“It was good to get the boys going,” Trivigno said.

After Leonard drew a call with five seconds left in the first, the Huskies committed another penalty at the start of the second, giving UMass a chance to tie it up on a 5-on-3 advantage.

It took just 34 seconds for the Minutemen to set up the triangle and make their mark.

Mitchell Chaffee started the tic-tac-toe play behind the net and dished a pass to Zac Jones. At the left point, Jones found Leonard waiting backdoor, where the junior banged in a shot to even it at two-all.

Minutes later, Kessel ripped a shot on net that found its way through Pantano to build a 3-2 lead, scoring his second goal of the season in the building, the first of which came in Matthews in the Oct. 15 loss.

UMass never looked back.

Chaffee extended the lead with 6:21 remaining, burying a backhand pass from Oliver Chau for his team-leading fifth of the season. Reed Lebster joined the second period scoring party with time winding down in the frame. After a neutral zone turnover, Cassaro put a shot on net that went in off of Lebster’s skate, solidifying the four-goal frame and making it 5-2 in favor of UMass.

The Huskies got one back from Walsh at the start of the third period, but it was too little too late. Leonard iced it with the net empty in the final two minutes to finalize the score at 6-3.

“Going into the third with a three-goal lead you start playing that prevent, defense hockey and that allowed NU to get that third goal,” Carvel said, “but after that we buckled down and did a good job solving the game. I’m very proud of our group. This is a very tough rink to win in and for this young team that was a bit of a statement game, but only be if we follow up tomorrow.”

“It feels great,” Trivigno said. “We had a strict game plan, we stuck to it and it worked out well for us in the end.”

The Minutemen return home Saturday night for the back-half of the top 10 Hockey East set.Puck drop is set for 8 pm at Mullins Center.

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