Notebook: Cole O’Hara steps up despite UMass’ loss to Clarkson

The freshman nets two of three goals


Dylan Nguyen/Daily Collegian (2022)

By Kayla Gregoire, Assistant Sports Editor

Cole O’Hara saw his opportunity after the Massachusetts hockey team lost three of its top players in the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off against Clarkson on Wednesday.

O’Hara has been a constant in the lineup for the Minutemen (7-7-3, 3-6-1 Hockey East), but the freshman has typically been the one to assist goals. With most of his assists being on Kenny Connors’ goals, O’Hara needed to find a different way to score with Connors away for World Juniors.

When UMass was put on a power play in the first period, O’Hara saw his shot after being put on the second special teams’ unit. The play started on a pass from Ryan Lautenbach to Aaron Bohlinger from center ice to the point. O’Hara caught Bohlinger’s pass from the right side of the net and shot a wrister over the shoulder of the Clarkson goaltender.

The first period was not where the forward stopped on offense. In the second, fellow freshman Tyson Dyck skated through the zone and sent a no-look pass to O’Hara. O’Hara then sent another hard wrister past Clarkson’s goaltender to mark his second goal of the game.

O’Hara’s second goal marked his first NCAA multi-goal game, with his first multi-point game coming on Oct. 21 against Union.

O’Hara’s efforts did not just show on the scoresheet, but throughout the ice. In the second period after scoring his second goal, the freshman was constantly hungry to add another point. O’Hara shot the puck hard as he skated towards the net but came up empty as the puck bounced off the Clarkson goaltender’s pads. O’Hara, though, caught the rebound and attempted to sneak it past him, but could not find a way.

In the same period, O’Hara also showed his ability to see the ice. With him skating towards the goaltender with Ryan Sullivan, the only player in O’Hara’s way was a single Golden Knight defender. Despite this, O’Hara found a way around the defender and passed the puck to Sullivan. Sullivan could not shoot the puck past goaltender Ethan Haider, but applied pressure all the same.

On the same shift, O’Hara found himself on a breakaway to give him another shot at tallying a third goal to his night. O’Hara needed to lift the puck to get it past the goaltender, but his speed left him no time to get a good stick on the puck to lift it. Instead, O’Hara tried to sneak the puck past the goaltender as he skated by, but Haider put his blocker on it to eliminate the chance.

With all his opportunities, O’Hara ended his night with five shots on goal, the most of the UMass skaters. This is the most shots O’Hara has recorded in a game. The forward recorded four shots in both games in the Union series where he also had his first multi-point game.

O’Hara now has 10 points this season off of three goals and seven assists, the second most of the freshman class. The only freshman O’Hara trails is Connors who has a team-leading 17 points.

O’Hara and the Minutemen will take on the losing team of Wisconsin vs Lake Superior State on Thursday.

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