‘He’s the goalie of the future’- Luke Pavicich has first career collegiate start in net on Saturday night

Pavicich came up with a career high 28 saves

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Caitlin Mott/Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Collegian Staff

After a bad game from graduate student goaltender Matt Murray on Friday night, freshman Luke Pavicich had his first collegiate start in net for the Massachusetts hockey team on Saturday.

On Friday night Murray could only block 10 of the 13 shots he faced. The goaltender allowed three shots by him; one being deflected off defenseman Scott Morrow’s elbow.

“[Murray] has been a really big mentor for me and really supportive on the bench. I really look up to him, so I really appreciate all he’s done for me,” Pavicich said on how Murray has helped him throughout the season.

Pavicich suited up for his first game in a UMass jersey during the Minutemen’s (15-8-2, 10-4-2 Hockey East) exhibition game against Dartmouth when Murray was taken out in the second period. The goaltender turned away 11 of the 13 shots he faced. After letting in two goals, UMass coach Greg Carvel said that Pavicich still had a lot of room to grow.

The first official game that counted towards Pavicich was UMass’ game against Boston University on Jan. 25 where he played 35:47 in the game. The freshman faced nine shots, allowing one puck passed him.

The game against the Terriers was similar to the game against the Sharks (8-16-3) on Saturday night where Pavicich capitalized on a rare bad game by Murray.

Carvel has put an emphasis on the best way for Pavicich to develop is by allowing him to play games in net for the Minutemen. Like the offense and defense, Pavicich must prove himself in practices and games to be able to start in the net more often.

“I have not been shy to put [Pavicich] in,” Carvel said. “I’m not going to throw him in just to give [Murray] a night off or give him some experience. Luke has earned it and it was a really good time for him to get some experience and for me to get some confidence in him and after tonight I have some confidence in him.”

The freshmen faced a collegiate career high of 29 shots. The most he faced in his last appearance was eight shots with one goal let past him.

Many of the shots that Pavicich faced were on the Minutemen’s penalty kill. During the first period of the game, the freshmen faced a total of 10 shots. One of his first saves was on the first penalty of the game when Pavicich covered up the puck to eliminate any chance of LIU getting a second scoring chance on him.

The first real challenge for Pavicich came in the second frame of the game on Cam Donaldson’s penalty. The Sharks’ Derek Osik shot a wrist shot that hit the goaltender’s shoulder for a save.

In front of the UMass net LIU was overwhelming the goaltender, but Pavicich continued to follow the puck and came up big on a shot from Gustav Muller. Later, he saved the puck after two Sharks players hit Pavicich’s pads on both shots they took within a few seconds of one other.

Pavicich allowed the first goal on him in the game during the second period. Max Balinson shot it past the shoulder of the goaltender on a pass from Jack Quinn to cut UMass’ lead in half. The Minutemen’s defense had a breakdown in front of the net that allowed for the goal.

In the last frame of the game Pavicich shut down all the shots he faced in the frame to seal his first win as starting goalie for UMass. Pavicich looked comfortable in net, coming up big in many saves.

“He’s the goalie of the future right now,” Carvel said.

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