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 ties Boston University 3-3 on Saturday night

Freshmen provide scoring for the Minutemen
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts hockey team faced No. 9 Boston University on Saturday night, coming out of Mullins Center with a 3-3 tie, although the Terriers (3-2-1, 1-1-1 Hockey East) walked away with the extra Hockey East point with a shootout win.

The Minutemen were powered by momentum from their freshmen who contributed all three goals on Saturday night.

Aydar Suniev netted the final goal of the night for the Minutemen to make it 3-2 halfway through the third period. Taking a pass from Kenny Connors, Suniev circled the offensive zone with the puck and sniped a shot past Terrier goaltender Mathieu Caron.

Freshmen scoring started with Jack Musa in the first period on UMass’ first power play of the night. Devin Kaplan sat in the box for BU after a slashing call against Samuli Niinisaari up the middle of the ice, giving the Minutemen an opportunity to get on the board early with a man advantage.

As chaos swarmed around Caron, Connors swung the puck over to junior Scott Morrow. The defenseman wasted no time and immediately made a quick pass to Jack Musa. Musa tapped in the puck behind Caron and immediately found Morrow and jumped into his arms in celebration. The Mullins Center lit up, giving the Minutemen the fire they were missing in the opening minutes of the first period.

“Since day one, [Musa] can compete at a high level and makes high level plays,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “I trust him a lot, play him a lot… He gets stuff done.”

However, the strength of BU freshman Macklin Celebrini kept UMass at bay with his two goals on the night. With just over two minutes left in regulation, Celebrini scored the game-tying goal on an assist from Luke Tuch to send the game to overtime

“He’s embraces the challenge, wants to be in big moments,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said. “He’s just as good defensively as he is offensively.”

It was Quinn Hutson’s shootout goal and Caron’s poise in net that gave the Terriers the extra Hockey East point.

“Every [Hockey East] team has gotten better,” Pandolfo said. “You have to gain as many points as possible early.”

The Minutemen were frazzled hitting the ice early in the night but found a way to bounce back and keep the game competitive. Captain Ryan Ufko and sophomore forward Connors were two of victims of this slow start. Despite having an assist on Musa’s goal, Connors lost sight of the puck time after time. As for Ufko, the defenseman was too focused on being pass-first instead of making instinctive plays.

The scrambling first period did not dim UMass’ ability to hold off the Terriers. Michael Hrabal kept himself composed in net, not allowing his four goals against performance on Friday to carry into Saturday. As the minutes in the first period ticked down, the Terriers amped up the speed, energy, and aggressiveness on the ice to try and tie the score before heading to the locker room. Even when knocked over, the true freshman goaltender found a way to cover the puck and not let the swarm of red catch him off guard. Hrabal faced 29 shots on goal, only allowing in three, even after being challenged by a many dangerous BU scoring chances.

“[Hrabal’s] a solid force for us back there,” Carvel said.

The Terriers’ scoring started after Kaplan returned to the ice after serving another two minutes. He jumped out of the penalty box and found himself on a breakaway, going one-on-one with Hrabal. Kaplan won the battle, sinking the puck and tying the game 1-1 in the second period.

As scoring bounced between the two teams, the night’s physicality escalated. UMass took risks with players putting their bodies on the line and effectively using their sticks  to hinder BU’s ability to corral the puck. Caron felt this pressure, having to flail across the net to avoid the Minutemen running away with the lead.

The power of freshman Dans Locmelis’ shot overcame the junior goaltender’s efforts in the second period. On a four-on-four with the puck bouncing back and forth between the two teams, Locmelis took his chance from the top of the left faceoff circle. The freshman shot a bullet and locked in his first goal of his career with UMass.

“It was competing,” Carvel said about the differences between Friday and Saturday nights’ games. “Owning the puck, wanting the puck, making plays… created a lot of chances, a lot of shots.”

The Minutemen will return to the Mullins Center on Friday, Nov. 3 with puck drop set for 7 p.m against the Northeastern Huskies.

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

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