UMass swept by Boston University after 5-1 loss on Saturday

Minutemen fail to create offense in loss

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Kayla Wong/Daily Collegian (2022)

By Kayla Gregoire, Assistant Sports Editor

The Massachusetts hockey team extend its losing streak to five games after a 5-1 loss to Boston University on Saturday.

The No. 11 Minutemen (5-5-1, 1-5-0 Hockey East) came into Saturday wanting to dig themselves out of their four-game losing streak. With multiple changes to the lineup, UMass came out a better team, but mistakes plagued it in the game.

“Thought the team played fairly well tonight,” head coach Greg Carvel said on Saturday. “BU is a good hockey team; we knew it was going to be tough trying to win here. I really liked the way the team came out. I thought our first period was actually pretty good.”

The Minutemen’s first goal did not come until the 38 second mark of the third period when Reed Lebster passed the puck to Eric Faith for an easy open-net goal. That marked Faith’s first of the season and the only goal of the night for UMass. BU (6-3-0, 4-2-0 HEA) answered with two of its own goals to cement its win.

“We need more from [Faith],” Carvel said. “We need a little more offensive output from him. We were having a tough time scoring goals so if we can get him going that will help us a lot.”

After allowing two goals in the first period due to defensive mistakes, the Minutemen knew they needed to come out stronger. Three defenseman are battling injuries at the moment, leading Carvel to pair two freshmen up as well as only using five defensemen for much of the game.

Defensive problems continued to be a problem in the game after the Minutemen were put on their first penalty kill in the second period. Kennedy O’Connor came up big with a block, but the Terriers continued to pressure defense. Brady came up with a save with 15 seconds left on the penalty kill, but that was not the last shot he faced.

The Minutemen had opportunities of their own in the first period. One of their best looks came from Michael Cameron’s pass to Lucas Mercuri, who put a hard shot on net. The deflection was recovered by Ryan Lautenbach, but goaltender Drew Commesso covered the puck up before Lautenbach could get a shot.

Kenny Connors was faced with an open net to start the period, but hit the post on his shot attempt. Connors’ miss showed the inexperience that the freshmen have continued to have. In the second period, Owen Murray also had an open net, but his one-timer sailed wide, causing a missed opportunity to put a point on the board.

The freshmen caused turnovers in the neutral zone that left Terriers to easily shoot on Brady, but they weren’t the only ones making mental mistakes, as poor passing plagued the Minutemen from top to bottom.

Frustration was evident in UMass players in the second period which caused them a sense of urgency. After getting checked into the boards, Lautenbach broke his stick out of frustration, but came back on the ice. In his next shift, Lautenbach’s physicality was seen throughout. Not long after, Scott Morrow and Lucas Mercuri were pushing Devin Kaplan.

“We addressed that right away,” Carvel said on Lautenbach’s frustration. “That’s completely unacceptable by Ryan, obviously frustration of his part. Couple things happened on that shift.”

The physicality did push a Terrier player to draw a penalty, putting the Minutemen on their first power play. UMass players could not put the puck on net, though, constantly firing shots wide in the two minutes. A hungry Morrow was prepared for a one-timer, but whiffed on the puck, giving BU the chance to clear it and make UMass start all over again.

An upside for UMass was its faceoffs in the game. Faith to end the first period went a perfect 6-for-6, while Mercuri went 3-for-3. By the end of the game, Faith won 10 of his 15 face-offs and Mercuri went 12-for-16.

The Minutemen will look for redemption against the University of New Hampshire on Friday, Nov. 18. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Durham.

“I was proud of the team tonight,” Carvel said. “They played hard. I don’t think the score was quite indicative. I thought the game was closer than the score.”

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