UMass opens Hockey East play with a 2-1 win over Merrimack

Colin Felix scored the game winning goal with four seconds left

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Nina Walat/ Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Collegian Staff

NORTH ANDOVER — The Massachusetts hockey team opened its first game of Hockey East play against Merrimack on Friday night with a last-minute goal to save the Minutemen from playing over 60 minutes of hockey.

The game started off with a lot of physicality. The Minutemen (3-2-0,1-0-0 Hockey East), and the Warriors (3-4-0,1-3-0 HEA) set the tone right away when Merrimack forward Logan Drevitch pushed UMass goalie Matt Murray. A push that made captain Bobby Trivigno unhappy.

Trivigno found his second goal of the season off a quick tap pass from forward Josh Lopina. Once Lopina found Trivigno on the back post it was not too long before the puck found its way to the back of the net.

The first line found themselves in a situation they have not been in this season- two of their players going into the penalty box in the second period, nine minutes apart. Both Trivigno and Lopina were called to the box for holding. UMass weathered the storm and did not allow a goal even without full strength on its top line.

Something that has not changed is the inexperience that continues to show with the Minutemen. Young defensemen were not used to the change of pace that Merrimack was showing on their smaller sheet of ice.

“I thought our younger defensemen played a little slow,” UMass coach, Greg Carvel said. “Our younger D weren’t getting back quick enough for pucks and was allowing Merrimack offensive zone time and pucks to the net.”

Throughout the first and second period Murray helped control the pace for the Minutemen. In the third, the Warriors found a way to get past the goaltender to make it a 1-1 game. Not only did Logan Drevitch get under Murray’s skin, but he also was the one to be able to get past Murray to open scoring for the Warriors on a wraparound shot.

“It’s been tough for us to win in this building. I thought we came out [hard],” Carvel said. “I told them before the game, when we come out ready to play, we find a way to win, and we don’t, we lose. I thought we came out ready to play and we found a way to win.”

In the third period, after the Drevitch shot, not too much was happening for either team. That was until defenseman Colin Felix stepped onto the ice late in the frame. With only four seconds left until the end of the game, the senior scored the game winning goal, assisted by Anthony Del Gaizo.

“It was great,” Felix said on his goal.” It feels good. [Del Gaizo] did a great job carrying that puck into the zone. We wouldn’t of had that chance if he didn’t hold onto that and beat a couple of guys.”

Felix’s third period goal marked not only the Minutemen’s first HEA win, but also Felix’s first goal in 57 games.

“It won’t mean anything to [Felix] because that’s not his game. He’ll come back tomorrow and be a good, hard defensive player for us, but it’s great to see guys get rewarded that don’t score often,” Carvel said. “I don’t care who scored that goal. We needed that. We needed a win like this this year.

The Minutemen will travel back home to Mullins Center to play the Warriors Saturday night. Puck drop will be at 7:00 PM.

Kayla Gregoire can be reach at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @kaygregoire.