No. 6 Michigan sweeps No. 10 UMass in weekend series

Minutemen unable to find the back of the net until the third period on Sunday

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Chris Tucci/ UMass Athletics

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts hockey team took the ice on Sunday looking to bounce back and show strength. However, the Michigan offense continued to overpower No. 10 UMass (10-6-2, 7-2-2 Hockey East), and the Minutemen lost 4-2 as a result.

“I was much happier with our effort tonight,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “Giving the guy’s credit. They fought until the end. Scored two goals in the last five or six minutes. Kids played hard.”

The Wolverines (16-6-1, 7-5-0 Big 10) got the first points on the board with less than a minute remaining in the first period. The puck sailed behind the goal and bounced around in front of the net, finding the stick of a Brendan Brisson who buried it. Brisson scored three goals over the series and added 2 assists. UMass had a better start but was outshot in the first frame 14-8 and won just 10 of 22 faceoffs.

UMass had five successful penalty kills and a shorthanded goal in the third period. Colin Felix sent a puck forward off the boards and it escaped the stick of the Michigan defender. Bobby Trivigno displayed speed to get to the puck, drive the net and take a shot that went past the hands of the Wolverine’s goaltender Erik Portillo. That marked 100 career points for Trivigno.

“Both teams, I thought powerplays were really good tonight,” Carvel said. “I think they probably have five first round draft picks on their powerplay and the fact that we didn’t give up a goal, pretty proud of that. The discipline of the team tonight was pretty good.”

However, the two-goal deficit did not last long, with Johnny Beecher providing Michigan with its fourth and final goal of the night.

Carvel explained how on Saturday night, the Minutemen began the game with their eyes wide and were not prepared for Michigan. While they came out stronger on Sunday, a struggling second half put them behind.

The second period saw a blue line turnover and another odd-man rush for Michigan and Matty Beniers recorded a goal off it. Quickly following the goal, Aaron Bohlinger was sent to the box, giving the Wolverines the advantage, but the Minutemen were able to kill it. But shortly after the power play, Dylan Duke put Michigan up by three late in the second period and leaving UMass in a 3-0 hole.

The true savior for the Minutemen who helped keep the score low and allow the Minutemen to stay in the game was Matt Murray. The graduate student recorded 43 saves on Sunday, with a total of 81 for the weekend.

The game concluded with Anthony Del Gaizo and Michigan’s Jack Summers each sent to the box for getting too physical after the whistle. With less than a minute remaining, Ryan Ufko scored his second of the season, but it was too late to spark a comeback.

Del Gaizo was moved down to the fourth line, playing alongside Taylor Makar and Cam Donaldson, after having been a permanent fixture on the second line throughout much of the first half of the season. Cal Kiefiuk, Ryan Sullivan, and Reed Lebster played on the second line.

“The three Michigan kids together,” Carvel said of the second line. “I wanted to give them the start here in their home state and I felt like they responded well. Played much better than they did last night.”

The Minutemen lost the first game in the series on Saturday night, with Michigan handing them their first regulation loss in 15 games. The Wolverines are a team who are believed to make a strong postseason run and are indicative of the skilled teams UMass will face in the playoffs. With room for growth, Carvel sees many takeaways for the Minutemen.

“I want them to feel pissed off,” Carvel said. “The first half of the year I didn’t think we were playing great; we were still finding ways to not lose. But we just lost two games and I want them to be angry about it. I want them to realize their compete level that’s necessary.”

The Minutemen will have a week to rest and reflect before resuming Hockey East play against Northeastern. The first game in the series is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan 21.

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @SophieeWellerr.