Maine scores in overtime to beat UMass 3-2 on Friday

Bobby Trivigno scores to extend his point streak in the loss

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Nina Walat/ Daily Collegian

By Colin McCarthy, Assistant Sports Editor

From the opening whistle it was evident that the Greg Carvel-led Massachusetts hockey team and the Ben Barr-led Maine intended on playing similar styles of hockey. Both teams mirrored each other in special teams success, breakouts and neutral zone defense.

But on Friday night it was the Black Bears (5-16-4, 3-12-2 Hockey East) that had enough of an edge to defeat No. 9 UMass (15-9-2, 10-5-2 HEA) 3-2 in overtime at the Mullins Center.

“Congrats to ‘Benny’, his team played very hard as I expected they would knowing who he is,” Carvel said after the game. “Maine came out and was the better team in the first period, I thought the last two periods we played alright. Third period was our best period, but we didn’t get enough pucks around the net to find that goal.”

In overtime Bobby Trivigno created a dangerous chance from his knees in front of the net but couldn’t get a shot through, and when the Black Bears skated the other way, Donovan Villeneuve-Houle found enough space to net the game winner.

“It’s inexcusable that their second and third goals were scored on breakaways that we just didn’t make the effort to stay above,” Carvel said. “That was the difference in the game.”

Bobby Trivigno continued to show his strong offensive skillset against Maine, scoring a crafty goal by corralling the puck on his stick, making a move on the lone Black Bear defender and then taking a delayed shot that slipped past Victor Ostman and into the back of the net.

That play marked goal No. 15 on the season for Trivigno and extended his total number of points to 31. Trivigno and fellow Minuteman Scott Morrow were both named semifinalists for the Walter Brown award recognizing the best American-born college hockey player in New England, an award the UMass captain was able to win last season. Trivigno will likely be a finalist again this season and could potentially win the award in back-to-back seasons.

“I don’t know how many kids have won that award back-to-back years, but I don’t know if I’ve seen a better forward in our league this year,” Carvel said. “[Trivigno] makes a big impact every night and [Morrow] does most nights, too … I think there’s 25 nominees for the award and I think we have two of the top nominees so that makes me pretty happy.”

Quickly after Trivigno’s goal, Maine was able to knot the game back up at 2-2 when Ben Poisson broke away from the UMass defense and buried a puck past Matt Murray. Earlier in the game the Minutemen and Black Bears traded power play goals; Maine struck first and then Garrett Wait responded less than three minutes after.

That theme carried throughout the game and bled into every aspect of hockey. Face offs overall slanted in UMass’ favor but despite stringing together a few dominant showings in a row on draws, Josh Lopina was relatively neutralized at the dot, winning 13-of-23 draws on Friday. Even the total number of shots on goal remained mostly even, favoring the Minutemen 27-25.

UMass thought it had a go-ahead goal midway through the third period when a puck deflected off the post and landed directly on Trivigno’s stick with an open goal in front of him. Instead of netting his second goal of the game, though, Ostman reached out with his glove and stabbed the puck out of the air to keep the game tied and eventually lead Maine to its overtime win.

“That was a highlight reel save obviously,” Barr said of Ostman. “We needed saves like that and he made a couple others that were pretty good, they were pressing the second half of that game and he made the saves he needed to make.”

Murray skated back to his spot between the pipes after taking a seat on the bench on Feb. 5 against Long Island University. The graduate student goaltender stopped 22 shots on Friday, but defensive troubles left him hanging one too many times and the Black Bears capitalized.

The Minutemen will look to clean up their defensive mistakes on Saturday night when they close out their series against Maine at 7 p.m. in the Mullins Center.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.