No. 9 UMass takes down No. 1 BC, 3-2, in overtime thriller

Marc Del Gaizo’s first goal of the season came at the perfect time for UMass

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Parker Peters/Daily Collegian

By Evan Marinofsky, Assistant Sports Editor

Marc Del Gaizo took off.

After roughly two minutes of controlling overtime, the Massachusetts hockey team had one of its most important players notice he had the Boston College defense beat in neutral ice. So long as he kept skating, there was only one way any Eagle (15-4-1, 15-4-1 Hockey East) was going to catch him: by tripping him.

And that’s what happened. Drew Helleson flew back, catching Del Gaizo’s skates with his stick and bringing down UMass’ junior assistant captain. As Del Gaizo flew past the net and into the corner, the puck did not. Instead, the puck latched onto Helleson and into the back of the net.

Fast forward through a review by the officials and UMass (13-5-3, 13-5-3 HEA) won the game in overtime, 3-2, taking down the No. 1 team in the country.

“I give our kids a lot of credit,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel said after the win. “They just kept grinding and playing hard.”

For Del Gaizo, his first goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for his squad.

“That’s great for him,” Carvel said of Del Gaizo getting his first. “He’s very deserving, he’s outstanding every night…Very lucky to have him on our team.”

The overtime winner was a microcosm for how UMass edged out the victory, with goals greasier than a McDonald’s french fry and shots on BC superstar goalie Spencer Knight from everywhere.

UMass finished the evening with 58 shot attempts, 39 of which landed on net. Knight stopped 36 of those and through most of the game, stifled every quality look the Minutemen tossed his way.

So, they scored in other ways.

With BC up 2-1 late in the third period, UMass captain Jake Gaudet tossed a puck on Knight, who blockered the shot aside. But the puck re-directed off Carson Gicewicz, who was battling Eagles d-man Marshall Warren in front of the net, and past Knight to tie the game.

“The tying goal wasn’t pretty,” Carvel said. “But when you play well for long stretches, those pucks will go in for you.”

The game’s scoring began roughly eight minutes into the second period when the Eagles capitalized on a UMass turnover in its own zone.

Oliver Chau received the puck at the top of the zone, but fumbled it, leading to Alex Newhook picking his pocket and taking it back towards the UMass net. Newhook dished it to Mike Hardman who threw it to the front of the net, off Gicewicz’s stick and in to give BC the 1-0 lead.

Later in the period, BC extended its lead when Nikita Nesterenko entered the offensive zone and found linemate Jack McBain across the sheet. The pass was right in McBain’s wheelhouse, who fired one past an outstretched Filip Lindberg to make it 2-0.

Bobby Trivigno, however, wasn’t a huge fan of being down two goals to BC and felt the need to do something about it.

Just five seconds after McBain’s clapper, Garrett Wait tapped a pass over to Trivigno who came in on Spencer Knight and wristed one past the former first-round pick’s glove to cut the lead in half.

That goal was what began the comeback for UMass.

“To score less than 10 seconds after, that was huge. That was absolutely huge,” Carvel said of Trivigno’s goal. “Bobby Trivigno is the other guy on our team, with Marc Del Gaizo, who’s been every night outstanding. It’s not easy to beat that goalie, especially from there when he can see it. It was a heck of a shot.

“That was a huge turning point in the game.”

While Knight stopped UMass time and again at one end, Lindberg put on a similar show at the other, stopping 29 of 31 BC shots. Out of those 29 saves, 15 came in the first period, which was a stretch of hockey Carvel wasn’t thoroughly impressed with.

“That first period, we didn’t deserve to be tied, and that’s all [Lindberg],” Carvel said. “You need goaltending like that to bail you out. When you have goaltending like that to bail you out, it’s such a huge factor…[Lindberg] in the first period was a difference maker.”

With the win over the No. 1 team in the country, UMass swapped spots with Boston University in the Hockey East Power Index to sit right behind the Eagles. It’s a victory that comes after an 8-1 thumping of No. 14 Providence – both games coming as UMass prepares for a postseason run.

In other words, Friday night’s overtime win came at exactly the right time for the Minutemen.

Evan Marinofsky can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @emarinofsky.