Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Aaron Bohlinger dominates the ice and scoreboard on Thursday

Bohlinger advances on scoring opportunities in the second period
Dylan Nguyen/Daily Collegian (2022)

Coming out of a scoreless first period on Thursday night, the Massachusetts hockey team (8-7-3, 3-6-1 Hockey East) found its rhythm against the Lake Superior State Lakers (3-15-2, 2-9-1 Central Collegiate Hockey Association) with two goals and an assist from Aaron Bohlinger.

While the second period introduced more physicality to the game, the Minutemen were able to match this energy with Bohlinger, Michael Cameron, and Cole O’Hara dominating the ice.

The team quickly found itself with the man advantage one minute into the period. Though the power play seemed to be following the scoreless theme of the first period, Cameron scored with a side shot swinging over goaltender Seth Eisele at the last second with Bohlinger and O’Hara on the assist.

Less than a minute after the first power play of the period, the Lakers gave up another penalty. Trying to find another scoring opportunity in the second power play of the period, the seconds counted down on the Minutemen again.

O’Hara’s shot was saved by the Lakers goaltender, but Bohlinger quickly bounced back from this attempt finding himself in the right place as he snuck in the puck from Cameron and O’Hara. This put the Minutemen up 2-0 five minutes into the second period.

Lake Superior State was unable to answer on its power play that followed soon after but cut UMass’ lead in half with less than ten minutes remaining in the period. This did not crush the momentum of Bohlinger, though.

Under a minute after the Laker’s goal, the Minutemen regained control of the puck and skated away from their own zone. This allowed the junior defenseman to seize another scoring opportunity and keep the Minutemen up by two. With a wrist shot on goaltender Eisele assisted by Lucas Mercuri, UMass led the game 3-1.

“Played fast, played hard… continued to do the little things right and it paid off,” Bohlinger said.

As the team maintained its lead, Bohlinger’s presence was felt by everyone on the ice, not just the scoreboard. During each period, the defenseman controlled the puck with ease as he swiftly made his way down the ice uninterrupted by the Lakers.

When paired with O’Hara and Cameron on the ice, passes were on target and the three proved their dominance against the Lakers. The junior’s technical abilities helped the whole team solidify their rhythm as they continued to put points on the board into the third period.

“[Bohlinger’s] our veteran defenseman and he’s capable of doing that,” head coach Greg Carvel said.

Offense and the scoreboard were not the only factors to the team’s success Thursday night. Versatility of the players is key, and it is something Carvel expects to see out of his team. After Thursday night’s performance and the season continuing, the players are starting to learn from each other, translating to their stronger presence on the ice.

“Everybody on the team learns from one another… try to learn and see how you can incorporate things into your game,” Bohlinger said.

The combination of Bohlinger’s defensive skills and offensive power Thursday was significant to the success of O’Hara and Cameron’s games as well as the team’s win.

The night ended in Wisconsin with a 4-1 win for the Minutemen, landing them third in the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off tournament and sending them back to the Mullins Center to face off against Brown University.

“It starts with our [defense],” Bohlinger said. “Best offense is good defense.”

 Sydney Ciano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @SydneyCiano.

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