UMass completes series sweep of LIU with 3-1 win on Saturday night

Garrett Wait recorded two goals in the win


Caitlin Mott / Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

After a dominating performance Friday night, the Massachusetts hockey team was met with a more confident and offensively stronger Long Island University team but were able to outlast the Sharks (8-16-3), winning 3-1 on Saturday.

“I think at the beginning our guys wanted it to be an easy sweep, but they had to earn it,” head coach Greg Carvel. “There wins in a row now, so we got to get hot this time of year and hopefully we can build some momentum here going into next weekend’s play.”

On the powerplay, Ryan Ufko handled the puck, skating along the blue line before finding fellow defensemen Scott Morrow who fired the shot. Garrett Wait was at the receiving end, getting his stick on it and redirecting the shot past the hands of the Shark’s Kris Carlson giving the Minutemen (15-8-2, 10-4-2 Hockey East) the lead early in the first.

Wait put UMass up by two late in the second period after Josh Lopina passed the puck from behind the net, finding him in front of the goal.

“[Wait] is the best on our team of going to the net and getting in the goalies’ eyes and I’m glad he got rewarded because he has been doing the dirty work for a lot of other guys who’ve been scoring goals lately,” Carvel said. “Our first line was outstanding. I thought they took a big step forward this weekend. And [Wait] is a big part of that line, so it’s a nice combination.”

In the second period, Lucas Mercuri was subject to a big hit and quickly rushed to the bench with his gloves off and stick on the ground. However, in the third period he got his revenge, extending the UMass lead to two goals once again, with Matt Baker and Aaron Bohlinger recording the assist.

“I thought [Mercuri] had a good weekend too and he’s coming along,” Carvel said. “He’s a big kid. He’s starting to get stronger on the puck and starting to get more comfortable.”

Penalties defined the first period with a total of five players seeing time in the box. Ty Farmer had two separate stints, one for a delay of game after handling the puck and another for cross-checking. However, during his first two minutes, LIU’s Jordan Di Cicco received time for holding, with Tyler Welsh sent for roughing during his later penalty. With the physicality at an elevated level, the referees hand went up with just over two minutes remaining and Wait sent for elbowing.

While the second and third saw a decrease, the Minutemen continued to add penalties minutes. Cam Donaldson was called for holding in the second, and LIU’s offensive effort throughout the entire two minutes remained consistent, generating scoring opportunities but UMass’ defense along with Luke Pavicich in goal allowed for a successful penalty kill.

In the third, Anthony Del Gaizo received time in the box for tripping, but the Minutemen didn’t suffer. With three minutes remaining, the Shark’s Isaiah Fox was sent for tripping, but UMass was not able to capitalize.

“The hard part was the amount of penalties we had to kill,” Carvel said. “We didn’t get a lot of momentum tonight because of that. It was a very even game, but our guys played very well defensively.”

Pavicich earned his first collegiate start in goal on Saturday after having only seen time in one game earlier in the season on Jan. 25 against Boston University. Pavicich ended the night with a career high 28 saves.

With less than two minutes remaining in the second, Pavicich let in his first and only goal of the night off a shot from Max Balinson, cutting the Shark’s deficit in half.

UMass will remain at the Mullins Center for a two game home series against Maine starting Friday night. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. 

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