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 hockey suffers a 3-2 overtime loss to UNH away

Cole O’Hara sinks two goals in the loss
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian (2024)

DURHAM, N.H. — The No. 14 Massachusetts hockey team fell 3-2 to the No. 16/17 University of New Hampshire in overtime after struggling to foster offensive momentum during regulation.

Sophomore forward Cole O’Hara slotted the two Minutemen goals during regulation. His second pushed UMass (17-10-3, 10-8-2 Hockey East) ahead to take a 2-1 lead, proving he can create offensive production despite a dry first half of the season.

“It’s who [O’Hara’s] playing with,” head coach Greg Carvel said of the sophomore’s linemates, Dans Locmelis and Jack Musa. “He’s capable of scoring.”

With Locmelis and Musa keeping the play alive, Locmelis took a wide shot that got deflected up the middle of the net. Keeping UNH (17-12-1, 10-9-1 HEA) from taking the puck down the sheet, O’Hara circled around to corral the loose puck. Once gaining control, he quickly released the puck and sent it behind the Wildcats’ goaltender Jakob Hellsten.

“[The] second [goal], just turn around and try to fire it up, finish it up top,” O’Hara said.

This lead was short-lived, however, as the Wildcats capitalized off of an Alex Gagne goal with nearly two minutes left of regulation.

Nikolai Jenson sent the puck towards Gagne from along the boards. From there, Jenson sent himself flying backwards on the ice as he tipped the puck in behind Michael Hrabal. Carvel challenged the goal for potential goaltender interference, watching Gagne bump into Hrabal’s stick and causing the freshman goaltender to improperly defend the net. However, the goal stood and gave UNH momentum as the regulation clock ran out.

“The thing [UNH was] better than us [at] this weekend was getting pucks and bodies around the net,” Carvel said. “That’s how they scored the controversial goal.”

Liam Devlin was the Wildcat to capitalize off of this tied score in overtime. A little over one minute into the overtime period, Morgan Winters took the puck past the neutral zone and found Luke Reid to keep the Minutemen off the puck. Reid found Devlin who came sliding back across the blue line and took a shot angled past O’Hara. The puck grazed past Hrabal’s right side and circled around the net to close out the night.

O’Hara’s first goal of the night tied the game in the second period, 1-1 during a Minutemen power play.

The goal started from Kenny Connors stationed just in front of the left circle. Connors sent the puck over to freshman Aydar Suniev who instantly took a strong shot towards Hellsten. Waiting in front of the net for a rebound opportunity, O’Hara took a frantic shot before finally lifting the puck up and behind in the net.

“[The first] was just lucky,” O’Hara said. “I managed to get that one up over the pad, which was nice.”

The penalty kill was a strong suit of UMass throughout the weekend series, taking five on Friday and four on Saturday. However, the Wildcats could not break through the Minutemen’s penalty kill, which resulted in multiple UMass breakaways.

Liam Gorman and Ryan Lautenbach used their speed and strength to overcome these penalties, forcing turnovers and redirecting the momentum to try and extend a lead. Even with a number of scoring chances, UMass fell victim to hitting the posts time and time again.

“I felt like we dominated,” Carvel said. “Shots don’t say that, but… we had the chances.”

Keeping the Minutemen alive on the penalty kill as well was Hrabal who tallied nine saves during the four instances of the man-disadvantage.

“[UNH] got a lot of shots to the net,” Carvel said. “Our goaltender made saves… Our forecheck was strong again tonight, but [UNH] got a lot of pucks to the net.”

The Minutemen head into another road game for a matchup against UMass Lowell. The Friday night contest’s puck drop is set for 7:15 p.m on March 1.

“I thought we deserved the win,” Carvel said. “We were ready for a really good opponent.”

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

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