Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutemen squander late lead, fall 3-2 to UMass Lowell on the road Friday

River Hawks score the game-winner with 27 seconds left in the third period
Collegian File Photo

LOWELL – The third period was all but over.

With less than 30 seconds to go, it seemed like overtime was inevitable at the Tsongas Center.

In a 2-2 tie with UMass Lowell, the Massachusetts hockey team appeared poised to push it into the extra period with a chance to walk away from the Friday night matchup with at least a point.

Until the breakdown.

With 27 seconds remaining on the clock and the puck in the corner of UMass’ own zone, UML’s Chris Schutz threw a puck on the net that slipped through an upright, unsuspecting Matt Murray.

After entering the final period ahead by one goal, the Minutemen (18-10-2, 11-7-2 Hockey East) squandered their lead, allowed two goals to the River Hawks (16-9-5, 10-6-4 HEA) and fell 3-2.

Greg Carvel was a man of few words following the heartbreaking loss in the waning seconds.

“Two guys just stopped playing hockey,” he said. “Goaltender just stopped playing hockey, not a good time to do that … When you outshoot a team 2-1 and lose the way we did, it’s frustrating.”

“It’s tough,” said Bobby Trivigno, who scored his eighth of the year to make it 2-1 in the second.  “I don’t know what to say. We just come off the page for a little bit and that’s it. It’s in our net.”

With the loss, UMass is now in a three-way tie for second, four points behind Boston College.

“It’s just really disappointing,” Trivigno said after the last-second defeat. “We outplayed them I would say for two and a half periods and then we have a mental lapse where we’re kind of weak and they get easy goals in front of our net and one from the corner – it’s just not good enough.”

In net, Filip Lindberg got the start, but nearly allowed two goals on the only two shots he faced.

After UML’s Zach Kaiser made it 1-0 less than five minutes into the opening period, it appeared as though the River Hawks had doubled their lead two minutes after their first. But after review, the call was overturned due to interference. Either way Lindberg was pulled in favor of Murray.

Trailing by one, the Minutemen got it back in the final minutes of the first when John Leonard notched the 50th of his career, jamming in a power-play rebound off of Marc Del Gaizo’s shot.

Just moments after Leonards’ equalizer, controversy struck when UMass freshman Cal Kiefiuk was delivered a blow to the head. With blood leaking on the ice where the collision took place, no penalty was called, as Kiefiuk skated off the ice bent over, plugging his face with a towel.

In his postgame presser, Carvel said, “Probably a broken jaw. Broken jaw, but no penalty.”

The score remained tied midway through the second period, until Trivigno’s go-ahead marker. Four minutes after firing a shot off the pipe, the sophomore winger got his shot at redemption and didn’t miss, one-timing a feed from Jack Suter on a tic-tac-toe sequence past Tyler Wall.

UMass stayed ahead 2-1 until eight minutes into the third, when Carl Berglund’s 12th of the season pulled the River Hawks even on home ice entering the final 10 minutes of the night.

With overtime looming and the puck seemingly being cleared out of harm’s way, several Minutemen, including Murray, lost track of the puck and fell victim to the game-winner.

“We needed to find a way to score a third goal,” Carvel added. “We were playing pretty well; we had a lot of o-zone time … The only thing we aren’t doing is scoring. You outshoot a team 30-11 after two periods – usually we’re a pretty good third-period team and we let in two goals.”

The teams reconvene in Amherst on Saturday night for a rematch of the battle of Massachusetts.

UMass will be without Kiefiuk, Carvel said, plus Mitchell Chaffee for the second-straight game.

“Any time you lose a game late there’s definitely some reflecting to do,” Trivigno said, “and it has to be a part of our mindset going into this next game that we’re not going to come off the page whatsoever, we’re not going to take any shifts off or anything like that.”

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center.

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

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    Peter SimpsonFeb 22, 2020 at 9:18 am

    The hit was reviewed for about 10 minutes. If it was a hit to the head, a major penalty would have been called.