Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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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

Ryan Ufko leads UMass to 2-1 win over UMass Lowell in overtime

Both captains score in the win
Dylan Nguyen
Daily Collegian (2024)

LOWELL, MA — After 60 minutes, the Massachusetts hockey team needed extra time in its 2-1 win over UMass Lowell in the first game of the Kennedy Cup series on Friday.

With just over two minutes to go in overtime, captain Ryan Ufko skated down the ice on a break, chasing a pass from Cole O’Hara off the boards. Ufko skated down the middle, held onto the puck before sending it past River Hawk goaltender Henry Welsch to send the Minutemen home with a win.

“Cole [O’Hara] beat his guy and got the puck,” Ufko said. “So I just took off. He made a great play off the boards to me so I just held onto it.”

After playing a 0-0 game for 38:24, Aaron Bohlinger gave the Minutemen their first lead of the game with 1:36 remaining in the second period. Lucas Mercuri passed to Bohlinger who was placed at center ice. The captain slapped the puck hard while goaltender Henry Welsch was being screened by Ryan Lautenbach.

23 seconds later, the River Hawks shutdown a chance for the Minutemen to carry their momentum into the third period. Ben Meehan quickly passed to Isac Jonsson who sent a wrist shot towards net. Jack Collins stood tall in front of the net for a tip-in to tie the game up once again.

Despite the quick response from Lowell, head coach Greg Carvel was happy with the effort from his squad Friday night.

“Really solid 65 minutes,” Carvel said. “You grind and grind and finally score a goal then they score the next shift, it was a little maddening but I was really happy with our play tonight.”

UMass had solid offensive chances throughout the game but could not finish most of its opportunities. Aydar Suniev was put on multiple breakaways, but Welsch seemed to always stay with the freshman. He finished his night with six shots with four on goal.

The Minutemen had four power plays but did not score a goal while up a man in that time. Through the four man-advantages, UMass allowed Lowell a few breakaways off turnovers and allowed looks at goaltender Michael Hrabal.

“Watching the pre-scout, I knew Lowell was a really good [penalty kill] team, they make it really hard to enter the zone on this ice sheet and then they pressure,” Carvel said. “The more power plays we got it looked like we were settling in a little bit but we needed a power play goal tonight.”

Hrabal played a steady game in net and did not look shaky. The River Hawks had plenty of dangerous looks at the net but the freshman netminder easily moved with the puck. In overtime, he had to make just one save.

Owen Murray found his way back into the lineup after being sidelined during the New Hampshire series. He was paired with Samuli Niinisaari, putting Scott Morrow and Aaron Bohlinger together on the second pairing. Lucas Vanroboys was listed as an extra skater for the UNH series but was put on the fourth line, leaving Nick VanTassell as an extra skater. Despite VanTassell as an extra skater, he had steady shifts throughout the game.

UMass will continue against Lowell on Saturday, Mar. 2 for senior night at the Mullins Center. Puck drop is set for 6:00 p.m.

“I think [UMass and Lowell] just play very similar,” Ufko said. “We’re big, heavy teams, I think we both take pride in playing defense first. Everyone knows that it’s going to be a defense first game so the message is every time it’s going to be around the net.”

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.

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