UMass falls short in Friendship Four with tie against Quinnipiac

Minutemen end in second place in tournament

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Colin McCarthy/ Daily Collegian (2022)

By Kayla Gregoire, Assistant Sports Editor

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — The Massachusetts hockey team fell short of taking the Belpot trophy back to Amherst after tying Quinnipiac, 2-2, and not finding the back of the net in the shootout.

The No. 17 Minutemen (7-5-2, 3-5-0 Hockey East) through 40 minutes fell behind the No. 4 Bobcats (10-1-3, 6-0-0 Eastern College Athletic Conference), not being able to keep up with them. UMass was on defense for most of the game after struggling to produce scoring chances.

With the game knotted at 1-1, Eric Faith took a penalty that led to a Quinnipiac goal with less than five minutes in the third period. That did not stop Michael Cameron from scoring 29 seconds later to tie the game back up.

With no one able take a lead in the last few minutes, the game went into overtime. Overtime gave the Minutemen multiple good looks. Scott Morrow had the best look in the last minute of the game, but the puck would not go in, sending the game to a shootout.

In the shootout, Cristophe Tellier netted the puck to give the Bobcats the Belpot trophy.

“I hate to see games go into shootouts,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “I don’t think a game should be decided by the shootout. The last two periods were really gritty by our team. The ice is terrible, it made it for a different kind of game.”

The first goal for UMass came with over five minutes played in the third period; Taylor Makar skated quickly down the ice, facing goaltender Yaniv Perets by himself. The play started on a Kenny Connors pass that led to Makar getting the breakaway. Makar then shot it on a hard wrister to tie the game up 1-1.

“[Makar’s] size and speed two nights in a row proved really important,” Carvel said.

The defensive pairing of Noah Ellis and Kennedy O’Connor have been a dominant pairing as they have grown into the pace of college hockey. The pairing does not show too much offense, but their defensive capabilities have proved beneficial. Ellis started the first period eliminating a chance after Collin Graf easily made his way to goaltender Luke Pavicich. Ellis got Graf away from the goaltender, but Pavicich did not cover the puck up, causing another shot by a Bobcat player.

O’Connor used his size throughout the game to keep Quinnipiac off the puck. After Ryan Lautenbach turned over the puck, the Bobcat was skating by himself 1-on-1 with O’Connor. The freshmen stayed on the Quinnipiac player to throw him off, eliminating the chance of an easy goal on Pavicich.

The Minutemen were also on defense due to penalties in the game. Taylor Makar skated quickly to the Quinnipiac goaltender, but he could not stop himself on the play after he shot the puck. Makar was called for interference due to running into the goaltender. This penalty proved costly for UMass despite Quinnipiac themselves making mistakes.

A Bobcat player shot the puck at Pavicich, but he blocked it away in front of him. Due to the puck landing in the crease, it called a buildup that caused the goaltender to start to fall. As he fell, Ethan de Jong backhanded the puck into the net to give Quinnipiac an early 1-0 lead. Pavicich finished the game with 31 saves.

UMass’ best puck possession was in the second period after Cole O’Hara from the right side of the net took a shot but came up empty. After the shot, the Minutemen stayed in the offensive zone, making multiple shots. The possession ended after Elliott McDermott fell, causing Quinnipiac to skate towards Pavicich and put a difficult puck to save on net.

The Minutemen will look for redemption at home in the Mullins Center against UMass Lowell on Saturday, Dec. 3. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

“It was a really solid weekend. We played two really good opponents who showed ourselves really well,” Carvel said.

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