UMass splits series with UConn after 4-2 loss on Saturday night

Aaron Bohlinger blocks five shots, earns one assist in the loss

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Kira Johnson/ Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts hockey team started where it left off on Friday against Connecticut on Saturday night with a dominant first two periods, but it was not enough to secure a win.

UMass controlled the game from the start with nine shots on goal, compared to UConn’s three going into the second frame of action.

“I thought the first period we were really good with shots, 9-3. I thought the only chance they had was their goal.” UMass head coach Greg Carvel said.

The physicality of the game gave both the No. 10 Minutemen (17-10-2, 12-6-2 Hockey East) and the No. 20 Huskies (17-12-0, 13-7-0 HEA) a 5-on-3 in the first period which proved costly for UMass. UConn’s 5-on-3 did not last long before Husky John Spetz shot the puck past Minutemen goaltender Matt Murray to make a 1-0 game. That shot was only the second shot on goal Murray had faced in that period, leaving him visibly unhappy following the score.

The Minutemen had a 5-on-3 of their own in the first frame of the game, but unlike the Huskies, they did not capitalize on the chance. The best chance UMass had was right as the powerplay was going to end for them. Colin Felix shot the puck, but it hit off the post and right off Huskies goaltender Darion Hanson’s back. Hanson managed to cover the puck with his back before the puck could slide past the goal line.

To end the first period of the game, Anthony Del Gaizo shot a puck from his knees with an open net in front of him but came up short with less than 30 seconds left in the period.

The Minutemen went into the second frame pounding UConn with anything they had. Just 12 seconds into the period, Bobby Trivigno had the puck on his stick with room in front of him and added a goal bar down to make it a tie game. The same unit remained on the ice after the goal and Aaron Bohlinger threw the puck to Josh Lopina for tap-in goal to quickly give UMass a 2-1 lead just over a minute into the period.

The penalties continued to be handed out after the goals. The Minutemen were put on the power play when Husky Jachym Kondelik was whistled for covering the puck with his hand. But 46 seconds into the UMass power play, Lopina was sent to the box for tripping. While Lopina had 20 seconds left on his penalty, John Spetz shot a puck to the goal and Ryan Tverberg finished off the play to tie up the game 2-2.

The Minutemen continued to fire shots off the UConn goaltender, ending the second frame with 25 total shots on goal.

“He was just average,” UConn Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh jokingly said about Hanson’s performance. “No, he was outstanding. He just competes so hard. He’s not only a good goaltender, he just competes so hard and he was fantastic.”

A player that went under the radar in the game was Bohlinger. Bohlinger added an assist on Lopina’s goal but he also finished the night with five shots on goal and had a total of five blocks. One of the blocks came at a crucial time on a penalty kill for the Minutemen.

“He was noticeable,” Carvel said about Bohlinger’s performance. “It was a great play on the second goal. His game keeps coming along. He’s dealt with some injuries this year but he’s starting to become a factor in games which is good. He was a bright spot tonight for sure.”

In the third the Huskies slowly chipped away at UMass’ defense and were rewarded less than seven minutes into the period. As Hudson Schandor was falling to the ice, he lifted the puck to the net to give UConn a 3-2 lead.

Despite continually adding shots on goal throughout the last few minutes of the game, the Minutemen could not add a goal to tie the game.

With just over a minute left, Marc Gatcomb netted a goal to cement the Huskies 4-2 win.

The Minutemen will travel to Burlington to play a two-game series against the University of Vermont. The first game will be played on Feb. 25th with puck drop at 7 p.m.

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