Three first-period goals push No. 11 UMass to 5-1 win over Maine on Friday

Matt Murray made 20 saves

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Three first-period goals push No. 11 UMass to 5-1 win over Maine on Friday

Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

By Liam Flaherty, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Massachusetts hockey team got out to a fast start and never looked back on Friday night.

With Cale Makar in the building for the 2019 Hobey Baker banner raising ceremony, the offense returned to form. Spurred by first-period goals from Oliver Chau, Bobby Trivigno and Marc Del Gaizo in his first game back in the lineup, No. 11 UMass downed Maine 5-1 at the Mullins Center.

Ty Farmer and John Leonard each added late tallies, while Matt Murray made 20 saves in net.

“We needed Matt Murray to make a couple big saves in the first five minutes of the game, but after that I thought we played desperate, we played a good game to our identity,” coach Greg Carvel said after the seventh home win of the season. “I thought we dominated possession, and to score five goals on [Jeremy] Swayman is tough to do and we found different ways to do that.”

The Minutemen (10-4-1, 5-3-1 Hockey East) also got two points from Jake McLaughlin, as they convincingly took the first game of the weekend series with the Black Bears (8-6-3, 4-5-2 HEA).

“The main focus this week was less talk, more action,” Leonard said, “and that’s exactly what we got in the first.”

It took the Minutemen less than five minutes to get on the board.

After Murray ate a Black Bear shot on a partial breakaway and stoned the subsequent rebound attempt, Chau received the puck from McLaughlin and set out down the ice on a 3-on-1 break.

No. 20 elected to shoot and ripped a wrister over Jeremy Swayman’s left shoulder. 1-0 UMass.

“I thought that was Oliver’s best game,” Carvel said. “He had a beautiful goal in the first, but he was quick, he was nimble, he possessed pucks, he was a very effective player for us tonight.”

Just over two minutes later, the Minutemen doubled their lead on Trivigno’s seventh goal of the season that came on a backdoor feed from linemate John Leonard flying on a 2-on-1 rush.

Maine held it at 2-0 for the next nine minutes, until Del Gaizo potted his first goal since April.

UMass went to a five-minute man advantage after JD Greenway was sent off for kneeing Jeremy Davidson. The freshman skated off, using a pair of teammates for support and he never returned.

With the Minutemen pressuring on the extended power play, Leonard was on the receiving end of a tripping call and Murray sprinted to the bench to get the extra skater involved in the attack. Before the Black Bears could touch the puck, Del Gaizo called for the puck from Mitchell Chaffee, dropped to one knee and sent a one-timer on net that beat Swayman to push it to 3-0.

“It was great to that goal, and it was a great play by Chaff,” Del Gaizo said. “I knew Maine was going to be a tough team to play against, so I had a little bit more pep in my step, and it paid off.”

“That’s a power play goal, right, we don’t score a lot of those,” Carvel said. “So, when you get him back and you score a power play goal — the power play hasn’t scored enough, but they’ve done a good job. They get chances, move the puck, get a lot of zone time, but Marc’s huge.”

When the first period finally came to an end, UMass led 14-8 in shots.

Things got off to a similar start in the second, but even quicker than the first. Just 16 seconds in, Farmer picked up his second goal of the season, unleashing a quick snapshot from the right point.

Maine eventually got one back to make it 4-1 on the power play with two minutes remaining in the second, but it wouldn’t matter in the end. Leonard erased the progress in the final minutes of the third, deflecting in a feed from Farmer to push the lead back to four with time winding down.

Murray continued his solid start in the final frame, improving to 6-1 on the season with the win.

The one negative Carvel noted from the lopsided win was the six penalties the Minutemen took.

“When you possess the puck that much you shouldn’t need to take that many penalties,” he said.

In addition to Del Gaizo, Jake Gaudet and Niko Hildenbrand also returned on the fourth line, stepping into the roles the plethora of freshman skaters have been filling during their absence.

“We’re still growing, we’ve still got a ways to go, but tonight was a good step forward,” Carvel said. “I thought we played heavier than Maine which isn’t easy to do, they play a heavy game, we played with good speed. As a coach, you feel better with experienced players on the ice. That’s a huge swing, when you get three experienced guys who take three freshmen out of your lineup.

“Real happy with the guys, that was a real dominant effort. Great evening to have Cale here.”

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