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

UMass drops Frozen Fenway matchup 4-2 to Boston College

Minutemen score two power play goals in the loss
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2023)

In its first conference game in exactly one month, the Massachusetts hockey team dropped a hard-fought battle to Boston College (8-6-4, 6-3-3), 4-2 at Fenway Park.

Facing a 3-1 deficit heading into the third period, UMass (9-8-3, 3-7-1 Hockey East) battled back to get the score to 3-2 but ultimately came up short in its comeback attempt, allowing an empty netter with eight seconds left. The Minutemen now drop to 9-8-3 overall and 3-7-1 in Hockey East play, keeping them at eighth in the conference.

Heading into the third period down 3-1 and needing two goals to tie the game up, the Minutemen first had to kill off the back half of Aaron Bohlinger’s holding penalty. It was a successful kill that transitioned into a bit of momentum for UMass. Just over two minutes after Bohlinger exited the box, the Eagles were called for tripping giving the Minutemen a perfect chance to begin their fight back to even.

And 10 seconds into that powerplay, UMass got exactly what it needed; a jolt of life. Ryan Ufko, in his first game back from the World Junior Championship, fired a wrister home from the point, bringing the Minutemen within one.

However, even with the momentum generated from the early kill and goal, that would be all the offense the Minutemen were able to generate for the rest of the night. UMass pressed hard for the final 16-plus minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net again.

“We didn’t fight back hard enough,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “We get it to 3-2 in the third period and it just felt like we were going to find a way. I liked the way the kids were playing, but we needed to get more pucks to the net and a little more urgency to do so.”

It was a fast paced first period, with plenty of scoring opportunities for both teams. When playing outdoors, there’s always the question of how the teams will be able to adjust their play to account for the ice conditions, but it was clear early on that both UMass and BC were comfortable on the sheet.

Boston College’s Cutter Gauthier opened the scoring with a snipe from the right faceoff dot two and a half minutes into the game. In the spirit of the event, Gauthier celebrated with a home run swing that gave BC a huge early momentum swing.

UMass would fight through the early adversity however, tying the game up with a goal from Michael Cameron seven minutes later. It was a nice touch pass from Cole O’Hara over the stick of a BC defender that sent Cameron on a breakaway where he made a smooth move on BC goaltender Mitch Benson then tucked a backhander over his shoulder.

Cam Burke was the offensive star for the Eagles, netting his first two goals of the season. The second and third goals of the game respectively, were scored in almost identical fashion. Burke placed himself in a prime scoring spot on both goals, low in the slot. On each goal, Burke received a pass from the right faceoff circle and deflected the puck past Pavicich.

The offense was led entirely by UMass’s underclassmen. With goals scored by sophomore Ryan Ufko and freshman Michael Cameron, and assists from Cole O’Hara, Ryan Lautenbach, Kenny Connors and Scott Morrow, the underclassmen of the team took charge on the offensive side of the puck.

UMass is now 0-2 in its short history of playing at Fenway Park. Despite losing Saturday night, the Minutemen still appreciated the opportunity to play at such a storied venue.

“It was definitely a really cool experience, looking at the crowd that showed up was really special, really deep down important to us,” Ryan Ufko said after the game. “You could hear the UMass chants from the bench even though fans were sitting pretty far away.”

UMass will have a chance to get back in the win column this Wednesday when it takes on Boston University for the third time this season. The Minutemen dropped their first two to the Terriers back in November. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at Agganis Arena in Boston.

Matt Skillings can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @matt_skillings.

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