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 drops first game of home-and-home, 5-1 against Boston College

Minutemen create chances but can’t take down No. 1 team in the nation
Dylan Nguyen
Daily Collegian (2024)

The No. 11 Massachusetts hockey team lost 5-1 to No. 1 Boston College Friday night. The Minutemen (16-8-3, 9-6-2 Hockey East) struggled to finish scoring opportunities throughout the game, while the Eagles (22-5-1, 14-3-1) found the back of the net in multiple ways.

UMass got its lone goal on the power play in the second period, with Lucas Mercuri receiving a pass by the left post from Cole O’Hara. Mercuri found a hole and wristed the puck by Jacob Fowler to light the lamp.

“Our power play unit’s been doing a good job in practice trying to generate chances,” Mercuri said. “[I] was just lucky enough to find the back of the net.”

The power play generated a large number of scoring chances for the Minutemen Friday night, with the second of its kind not generating goals, but coming close on multiple occasions.

“The power play’s been trending in the right way,” head coach Greg Carvel said. “I knew the goals were going to come… They’re doing what I want them to do.”

Cutter Gauthier scored two of the Boston College goals on the night, with both coming off deflections in front of the net. His two goals ultimately made the difference with his first giving the Eagles the lead initially, and his second breaking the tie once again.

Gauthier’s initial goal came in the first period, flinging a puck out towards the slot. The pass bounced off a UMass stick and snuck under the crossbar for the Eagles’ first goal of the night.

After Mercuri’s goal in the second period, Gauthier scored once again, in similar fashion. He skated near the right point in the offensive zone before throwing a puck on net. He hopped off the ice for a change but was called back out to celebrate after the puck again deflected off a UMass player and into the netting.

“I think that was the game,” Carvel said. “I thought it was an even game… We had similar chances, and we don’t score, so to me, we weren’t perfect, but I thought we played a pretty good game.”

Michael Hrabal surrendered four goals on the night, but besides the few deflection goals, had an otherwise solid game between the pipes. He made 20 saves against the Eagles and looks to stay on track for game two of the home-and-home on Sunday.

“I feel bad for [Hrabal], with those fluke goals,” Carvel said. “He had to make some big saves for us. He’s the least of my concerns right now.”

Out of the other three goals for Boston College, two came off the stick of Ryan Leonard. The third went to Andre Gasseau against an empty net.

Jacob Fowler’s play in the net played a huge role in the win for the Eagles, saving 25 of 26 shots against, and making some key saves that kept his team in the lead. UMass created chances throughout, and Fowler’s performance made all the difference.

“We were generating chances, but we just got to find a way to put it in the back of the net,” Kenny Connors said. “Whether it’s going to be a pretty or a dirty goal, we’ve got to do a better job at getting to the front and getting things in the back of the net.”

The Minutemen have a chance to redeem themselves coming up in the next game between the two teams at Conte Forum on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. With the season coming to an end, both teams will be treating the game as if it’s the playoffs.

“We have to finish,” Carvel said. “It’s an even game, we have to put the puck in the net… I don’t think the score is indicative of the game. It was a 2-1 game for a good portion. That’s the number one team in the country, and we’re not too far off.”

Mike Maynard can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @mikecmaynard.

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