UMass has no regulation losses in Hockey East play through eight games

4-of-8 games for the Minutemen have gone into overtime

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Shilpa Sweth / Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Collegian Staff

As the Massachusetts hockey team closed its series against the University of New Hampshire with an overtime loss, an undefeated statistic remained. The Minutemen (7-4-1, 5-2-1 Hockey East) have not had a regulation loss since their opening series against Minnesota State and have no regulation losses in Hockey East.

Hockey East is known to be one of the harder divisions in NCAA hockey, as many Minutemen have recounted how physical an HEA game can feel. Throughout the games both teams are battling for the puck in a very physical manner.

The physicality of HEA play has shifted the Minutemen around, losing players mid-season due to injury. With the roster adjustments, young players have had to step into bigger roles and defensemen have had to slot into the offense.

“I think [having no regulation losses] goes to our whole team,” junior defenseman Matthew Kessel said. “Playing hard defense first. Basically, every game we get into we know it’s going to be the little details, the little battles that will determine the score.”

Freshman defenseman Scott Morrow has been a large factor as to why the Minutemen have had big chances in their games. Morrow was responsible for the Minutemen win with a goal in overtime during the last game of the Merrimack series. Then against Providence, Morrow had the lone goal that allowed UMass to win 1-0. Most recently, Morrow’s last-second goal tied the game to send the Minutemen into overtime against New Hampshire on Nov. 20.

Another young defenseman, Ryan Ufko has stepped up into a mature role, especially with an injured UMass team. The freshman had a slow start at the beginning of the season but began to grow into the pace of college hockey as the season continued. In the Minutemen’s series against Boston University, they were battling the Terries for both games. Though the series ended in a tie and an overtime loss for the Minutemen, Ufko came out with four assists and one goal in that series alone.

“I think we squeak out a couple other wins,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “We have not won in dominate fashion like we have in the past where we are just getting by in wins, which is fine, but it’s been a very uneven year from the start of the year where we had so many new players to now where we are really struggling with injuries through the last couple weeks.”

With the big losses on offense, the Minutemen feel like there still needs to be improvement and are looking to do more in their series against UMass Lowell on Friday night to see more production.

“I think we have to score more. We keep going to overtime in low scoring games. Guys like myself need to score more goals, so hopefully we’ll get some production this weekend,” senior forward Anthony Del Gaizo said.

Though they have not had a regulation lost, the Minutemen have bumped down in NCAA hockey standings, even below the No.10 spot.

Minutemen captain Bobby Trivigno’s duality, however, carries through for UMass. Trivigno battles along the boards while also giving the Minutemen offense. He generates chances for his fellow Minutemen while also allowing himself to score. Trivigno has six goals and eight assists on the season.

When the Minutemen are all healthy as the second half of the season comes around, they will have a confident full roster back that will be dangerous in HEA play.

“Holding our head above water, so I’m proud of the group that we are finding ways to stay in games and win some games while we’re extremely shorthanded,” Carvel said. “I’ve got very high hopes for this team once we get healthy. I think the second half of the year this team will reach its potential and I’m excited about that, but for now we just have to find ways to scratch and claw.”

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