UMass’ miscues prove too much to overcome in 4-2 loss to BU

UMass couldn’t mount a comeback after surrendering a shorthanded goal in the third

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Mehroz Kapadia/Daily Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Sports Editor

Heading into the second period of Sunday’s game it was the Massachusetts hockey team who held a 2-1 lead, but by the end of the frame Boston University sat on top, up 3-2.

Despite scoring two unanswered second-period goals, it wasn’t that the Terriers (2-1-0, 2-1-0 Hockey East) had taken control of the game, rather it was UMass (9-4-1, 9-4-1 HEA) who gave the lead away with a series of mistakes—a pattern in the 4-2 loss.

The first BU goal of the second, to tie the game, came after Aaron Bohlinger gave away the puck in the neutral zone, leading to a breakaway on the other end that Logan Cockerill buried to tie the game.

The Terriers took the lead late in the frame thanks to a David Farrance goal from the point. Not only was the goal scored on a power play—one that resulted from a high sticking call on Bobby Trivigno—it also looked like a shot that could’ve been stopped; a slow wrist shot from the blue line that wasn’t tipped.

“It was a frustrating loss for me as a head coach,” Greg Carvel said. “I was concerned we went too long without a game after winning seven in a row and I was concerned our mental edge would be off and I thought that it was tonight.”

UMass’ mistakes started in the first period when Matt Murray went to play a puck behind his net. When the senior goaltender went to play the puck to his left, it was picked off, giving BU an opportunity they wouldn’t squander, putting them on top 1-0 early on.

And the miscues continued to come into the third period.

With the Minutemen trying to claw back from a one-goal deficit, the maroon and white headed to a power play just under six minutes into the final frame. Rather than capitalize on the chance to tie the game, UMass gave away a breakaway to Cockerill and found itself down two goals at the end of the man advantage.

“It seemed to be a continuation of what we saw in the second period of guys not making very smart decisions,” Carvel said. “Cockerill’s a very good player for them, you can’t give him breakaways, he puts it in the back of the net pretty easily.”

The Minutemen’s rocky play came on the heels of a 10-day layoff caused by cancellations and delays, a product of the ‘COVID season.’

“A lot of mental errors I think come when you don’t play for an extended time,” Carvel said, “which is what I was concerned about and played out.”

On top of the misplays that ended with the puck in the back of their net, the Minutemen had numerous close calls as well.

A first period power play for UMass was emblematic of the afternoon as a whole as the Minutemen gave away the puck to Max Kaufman. The freshman forward seemed destined for a one-on-one with Murray on the other end but decided to pull back, waste time and wait for support.

Time and time again, UMass would land on the power play, yet time and time again they failed to convert. After coming into the weekend with the sixth-best power play in the country, the Minutemen converted on just one of their six opportunities.

The penalty kill lived up to the billing, letting just one goal in on six BU power plays. However, putting the Terriers on the man advantage often halted momentum.

“That’s eight minutes of the game that you give away, and you have to defend against a good offensive team,” Carvel said. “I know we probably ended up with more power plays than they did but just looking at the penalties that we took, those are the things that creep in when you don’t play for ten days and you’ve won seven in a row and everyone gets comfortable. You see it coming a mile away.

“I think we should’ve been better tonight but we weren’t.”

With the loss, UMass’ seven-game win streak comes to an end. The two teams square off again Monday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] He can be followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.