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 unable to sustain offense, loses 3-1 to Boston College

Cole Brady makes 28 saves in net for the Minutemen
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2023)

The script was different, but the ending was the same. The Massachusetts hockey team aimed to settle the score against Boston College after losing big on Friday night but walked out of the Mullins Center with a 3-1 loss to the Eagles (12-12-6, 7-8-5 Hockey East) .

UMass (10-15-5, 4-13-3 HEA) had a much better first period on Saturday, jumping out to a 1-0 lead over BC in that frame. The Minutemen’s offense came to a screeching halt during the final 40 minutes, though, and one goal was not enough to fend off the Eagles.

“I thought for two periods I really liked our game,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “I was pretty confident we were going to come out and find a way to win in the third, but it was far from that.”

Cole Brady got the start in net on Saturday after playing the final period of Friday night’s game. He hasn’t started since Nov. 12 against Boston University, but he showed out in his return, making 28 saves through the 60 minutes. In the second period when BC earned a power play, Brady made key saves back-to-back, including a point blank stop to keep the Eagles off the scoreboard.

“I thought he played great, I think we let him down in the third period with a couple of those goals, but other than that I think he played really good,” assistant captain Reed Lebster said of Brady’s night.

Even without a goal, BC built momentum all through the second period, limiting UMass’ scoring chances and peppering Brady with shots. The Eagles finally broke through with less than 30 seconds in the frame, deflecting a shot in front of the net and fluttering it over Brady’s shoulder to knot the game up at 1-1.

Seven minutes the third period, Trevor Kuntar gave BC a lead, using his speed to skate around Elliott McDermott and get in all alone on Brady. Kuntar made a stick fake and then tucked the puck around Brady’s right pad and in. The Eagles grabbed an insurance goal a few minutes later to secure the win.

Michael Cameron and Kenny Connors lead the Minutemen in goals this season, and their connection continues to grow as linemates. The duo opened the scoring on Saturday when Connors took a slapshot from the point that Cameron redirected through traffic and into the net. Scott Morrow earned a secondary assist on the play.

UMass’ power play didn’t find much success on Saturday night. Not only did the unit go scoreless, but they also struggled at times to even gain a clean zone entry. On the times when they did get a settled opportunity, the Minutemen either gave the puck away with a bad pass or were swarmed by BC until they gave the puck up. UMass got a couple power plays late in the third period that could have helped chip away at the score, but the unit again failed to generate a good look and came away empty-handed.

The Eagles, on the other hand, did find success on the power play. Tyson Dyck took a penalty late in the second period that led to BC’s tying goal, and the Eagles operated that power play efficiently for the goal.

Face-off wins were difficult to come by for the Minutemen on Saturday night. With Eric Faith in-and-out of the game while dealing with some pain, UMass had to shuffle around centers a little bit, and that movement hindered the success of the group. The Minutemen wound up losing the draw battle 32-17 to the Eagles, and no UMass center finished above 50 percent in the circle.

“They’ve been a big factor in the last number of games,” Carvel said of the face-offs. “Eric Faith is out there on one leg so we have Michael Cameron playing the middle and he’s not a center. Lucas Mercuri usually gives us a decent night and he really struggled, so face-offs have been an issue.”

The Minutemen defense did a much better job limiting BC’s scoring chances throughout the game, but Saturday was another case of not putting all the pieces together.

Carvel has emphasized on multiple occasions that UMass needs to play a full game on both sides of the puck; if the offense is scoring, the defense is letting up a lot of goals. Or, in tonight’s case, the defense did its job, and the offense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.

“We just have to stick together,” Carvel said. “It’s been a rough year, but trust me, we’re learning from it.”

The Minutemen will be back in the Mullins Center for senior night against Northeastern on Friday, Feb. 24. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.

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