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

Boston College dominates UMass 7-3 on Friday night

Minutemen allow five first period goals
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2023)

CHESTNUT HILL — The Massachusetts hockey team continued its stretch of inconsistent play Friday night, falling 7-3 to Boston College. Despite playing two strong periods, a five-goal deficit is borderline impossible to overcome in hockey, and Friday night was no exception.

UMass (10-14-5, 4-12-3 Hockey East) dug itself into a deep hole in the first period that it couldn’t escape, as Boston College (11-12-6, 6-8-5 HEA) overwhelmed the Minutemen from the start, scoring five goals in the first period. Leading the way for the Eagles was junior Nikita Nesterenko who scored a hat trick, with two of the goals coming in the first period onslaught.

Nesterenko’s highlight of the night was a breakaway goal with just under five minutes remaining in the first period. Nesterenko caught Ryan Ufko and Matt Koopman flat-footed coming up the ice beat them to the puck. Alone with Luke Pavicich, all it took was a subtle head fake and Nesterenko had his angle.

The goal made it 3-0 at the time, a deflating notch due to how quickly it came after Mike Posma made the game 2-0.

“We’ve been struggling with good starts, so coach has been preaching you’ve just got to have a good start and that’s what we went out and did,” Nesterenko said after the game.

Matt Koopman was the main offensive contributor for the Minutemen, netting his fourth and fifth goals of the season in the second period.

“Koopman’s just a great kid, great teammate. I’m happy for him,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “I tried to get him out a lot in the third period to get the hat trick. For a fourth liner he does a tremendous role, he does his role really, really well on and off the ice, awesome kid.”

Koopman’s first goal was a shorthanded tally. The graduate student tapped in an Owen Murray pass on a 2-on-0 break, giving Murray his first collegiate point.

“I thought Owen played really well tonight,” Greg Carvel said. “We’re seeing him take a step forward which is important, he’s not a big guy, but he uses his feet really well and he’s distributing the puck really well.”

After allowing all five goals in the first period, Greg Carvel decided to pull Luke Pavicich and turn to Henry Graham in the second. Graham was strong in net, making seven saves on eight shots, but Carvel was still seemed to be searching for something else in net.

He made his second goalie change of the game heading into the third, inserting Cole Brady into the game. Brady also allowed just one goal, only facing six shots.

“Cole is a really good kid, he’s a good teammate and just hasn’t had a lot of opportunity this year,” Carvel said. “I probably should’ve put him in in the second period.”

For Boston College, the win marks two massive momentum grabbing games for the program after they defeated Boston University in the Beanpot consolation game last Monday. The Minutemen will not have any easier of a time with the Eagles Saturday night for the back end of the home and home series.

“All the points count here, coming down the stretch,” Nikita Nesterenko said. “We had a good win against BU, so that’s always good even in a consolation game; that matters. BU is a big rivalry, so we carried that into today. UMass is a good opponent, just won the national championship, they’re always up there, so if we can get a sweep here that’d be big.”

UMass will take on the Eagles again tomorrow night back in Amherst at the Mullins Center. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

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

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