UMass’ First line remains strong despite 2-1 loss to BC on Friday

The trio’s effort gives Minutemen their first goal of the game

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Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

NEWTON – With a cumulative 71 points this season, the impact of the forwards on the first line was felt on all parts of the ice, providing the Massachusetts hockey team with the opening goal on Friday night against Boston College.

With under four minutes remaining in the first frame, Josh Lopina won a faceoff in the offensive zone straight back to Scott Morrow at the blue line. Morrow dumped the puck into the corner and No. 9 UMass (19-11-2,14-7-2 Hockey East) fought off high defensive pressure from the Eagles (13-17-5, 8-12-3 HEA), swarming to the puck near the goal. Trivigno came away with possession and fired a no-look pass from his backhand directly to the tape on Garrett Wait’s stick. Wait sat all alone on the crease and easily fired home a goal between the legs of Eagles goaltender Eric Dop.

“That’s a predictable goal for us,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “We try to work the game below the goal line and then work it to the front of the net. Really good job by [Trivigno] and [Wait] was left alone on the backside. So, we needed to do that more often than we did tonight.”

Trivigno and Wait’s connection has been on display since the duo was paired up together last season, and Friday’s goal was just the latest example of their success.

At the conclusion of the opening 20 minutes, Trivigno led the team in shots at four, also recording the first shot of the game. He was followed closely behind by Wait with two. Lopina’s faceoff wins led to multiple opportunities, including one play where Trivigno, Ryan Ufko and Lopina all got consecutive shots off, but all went out wide or were deflected away by Eric Dop. With the puck continuing to float around the goal, Dop hazardly picked up the puck, looking to prevent any more opportunities. Lopina ended the night going 17-for-30 on face-offs.

After an early goal by Boston College in the third period, UMass was knocking on the door in search of an equalizer. The first line were the catalysts all night long and got a key chance in the third period. The play started with Matt Murray making an impressive save for the Minutemen, and before long a quick transition from defense to offense gave Trivigno the opportunity of a breakaway. However, he fell down before attempting a shot and lost out on an opportunity to notch the game-tying goal.

This was not the only challenge for Trivigno throughout the night. Despite a loose stick sliding across the the ice and getting caught in the back of Trivigno’s skate, the captain was still able to maintain his footing and fire a shot towards the net, but it went out wide, bouncing off the boards and back into play where it was cleared out by the Eagles.

“We didn’t create a lot,” Carvel said. “We need more guys that can skate the puck into the zone and create something instead of having to dump it in.”

UMass took the ice on Friday looking to get the win and clinch first place overall in Hockey East, however despite the efforts by the first line, it was unsuccessful. Along with searching for the Hockey East win and closing out their series against Boston College on Saturday, the Minutemen’s final regular season game will also be in celebration of the seniors, including Trivigno and Wait.

Lopina has played alongside the duo for the better part of two seasons. As the youngest member on the line, he looks up to the seniors.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Lopina said. “I’ve learned how to carry myself on the ice, away from the rink and just how to be a good person and how to work hard. Those are two big leaders on our team. Couldn’t be more thankful to play with them for my whole time here so far.”

UMass and the first line will take the ice for Saturday’s regular season finale against Boston College at 4:30 p.m. inside the Mullins Center.

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