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 struggles on the road, falling to Northeastern 4-0

The Minutemen come up with big hits in the game
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts hockey team could not continue its momentum from Friday night into Saturday, falling to Northeastern in the second game of the series.

Passion and fight was evident on the ice as each player was determined to put up a physical game against the Huskies (16-11-5, 13-6-3 HEA). Even with the Minutemen (11-16-5, 5-14-3 Hockey East) beginning to regain their UMass hockey identity from the previous night, though, the Huskies put up four, unanswered points.

Determination dipping at some points in regulation, was sparked under UMass even in a loss. This physical game was led by Jerry Harding who despite taking a roughing penalty in the first period, had a dominating presence with hard hits similar to ones from Friday’s game. Keeping the previous night’s momentum, Harding was determined to try and keep an even fight on the ice.

More physicality was seen from other Minutemen as well, including Reed Lebster, Matt Koopman, and Ryan Ufko, who found their turns at the board to keep the Huskies off-balance. Especially with UMass’ defense faltering in the second game of the series, Harding, Lebster, Koopman, and Ufko were essential forwards in maintaining some momentum on Saturday night.

“They [were] really effective all weekend and gave us a lot… played hard, and I wish we had more guys that played this weekend like they did. They were the highlight for us,” head coach Greg Carvel said of Harding and Koopman’s performance.

Even with UMass huddled around the Northeastern goaltender, Devon Levi, no one could find an opening. In the second period off of a rebound, the puck was placed nearly perfect in front of Levi to tie the game 1-1 though no player seized the opportunity. Almost 20 seconds after the missed opportunity, Husky Jack Hughes received a long pass from Jakon Novak to double their lead, putting the puck in the back of the net by UMass’ goaltender, Cole Brady. Brady was unable to slide to the left to stop Northeastern going up 2-0.

While Brady started the night looking strong in net, the end of the first period left him flustered for the rest of the 40 minutes. Carvel was looking for more offense from the defensive side despite its ability to break pucks out and keep UMass out of its own zone. Brady fighting in the zone became flustered late into the first period.

“I can’t say [Brady] played poorly by any means… We hung him out to dry in a couple rushes for sure,” Carvel said.

Levi and the Husky defense, on the other hand, continued to shut out UMass. Going against two Huskies, Kenny Connors had an opportunity to face Levi himself. Losing control over the puck, though, the freshman forward could not put the Minutemen on the board. Connors had more chances in the third period too as he took Lucas Mercuri’s spot alongside Taylor Makar and Ryan Lautenbach.

“Trying to shake things up,” Carvel said about switching up the lines to try and create offense in the last twenty minutes.

Against Levi, though, there were not many chances for UMass to break through.

“He was playing on pure adrenaline… he knew the importance of the game, he was outstanding,” Northeastern head coach Jerry Keefe said of Levi who was battling illness during the series.

Despite their loss, 4-0, on Saturday night, the Minutemen continued to play with passion to try and keep their hockey identity with them as the regular season comes to a close.

Taking the road next week for their last regular season series, UMass is set to face the Maine Black Bears on March 3 at 7 p.m.

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

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