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

Cole Brady shines in UMass’ weekend road sweep of Maine

Minutemen goaltender makes 35 saves on Saturday
Colin McCarthy/ Daily Collegian (2023)

ORONO, MAINE — Keep it under three goals.

That’s Greg Carvel’s mark of success for his goalies. If the netminder can keep the opposing team to two or fewer goals, UMass has a chance to win. Anything else and it’s a crapshoot.

Cole Brady has been the backup goalie for a majority of the season, but after some inconsistent play from Luke Pavicich in the month of February, Carvel turned to Brady as the starter for the final four games of the season.

Brady seized his opportunity, helping the Minutemen (13-16-5, 7-14-3 Hockey East) win three of their four final games heading into the playoffs. Heading into Saturday, Brady won his games by doing exactly what he was supposed to do: keep it under three. On Saturday he let a third one slip by him, but that didn’t change his level of success.

The junior from Pickering, Ontario was crucial to UMass’ win, stopping 35 of 38 Maine (15-15-5, 9-11-4, HEA) shots on goal. UMass, despite scoring four goals, didn’t control the offensive side of the game the way the Black Bears did, only having 14 shots of its own. Because of this, it was especially important for Brady to be on top of his game.

The Minutemen defense wasn’t bad on Saturday night, but it gave up more than its fair share of odd man rushes, leaving Cole Brady to make game-saving stops on numerous occasions. Brady was more than up to the task as his presence in net kept the Minutemen in control.

“[Brady] didn’t get a shot for a while there,” senior Cal Kiefiuk said of Brady. “To come in cold this late in the year, when these games mean that much heading into playoffs, for him to step up like that is huge.”

Heading into the playoffs, there are few things more important than momentum, and Brady and the team as a whole have a ton of it. A hot goalie can be the difference between a good and a great team and UMass needs Brady to be great for them to make a run at a third consecutive Hockey East title.

Back to that magic three goal mark that Carvel emphasizes so deeply. In the three games that Brady has won at the end of the season, he has allowed two, two and three goals. In the loss: four. It’s no secret that when Brady is on top of his game, the Minutemen have a good chance of winning.

“It’s huge, it’s what I’ve wanted and worked hard for,” Brady said of his performance lately. “Glad to see it come together, but we played a hell of a game tonight, I think we deserve every bit of this.”

Now that the regular season slate has come to an end, the Minutemen will be facing the Boston College Eagles in the opening round of the Hockey East playoffs. Despite being 0-3 against them this season, a quick turnaround could benefit UMass as it will have momentum coming off of a weekend sweep.

“It’s all you want really, just momentum going into the playoffs,” Brady. “I think we feel like we deserved better during this year, but I feel like it’s coming together at the end so hopefully we put it all together in the playoffs.”

Brady and the rest of the Minutemen will look to carry their momentum into Chestnut Hill this Wednesday.

“Especially coming off of two victories like this, turning the corner and going right into playoffs,” Brady said. “Guys are going to be feeling good, just got to rest up and be ready to go.”

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

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