For two periods Massachusetts absolutely dominated defending national champion Boston College on Friday night and went into the final period with a 3-0 lead. But the defense which had played extremely well to that point, despite being down a man for the entire game, ran out of gas and were unable to do the little things that would’ve held off BC and given UMass the victory. In the end the Eagles scored four goals in the 3rd and picked up the win in overtime on a Johnny Gaudreau score.
It looked like UMass had overcome the game misconduct for hitting from behind by Joel Hanley when they had killed off the resulting five minute major. But that was only short term. Long term the remaining five defensemen had to play extra minutes to try to keep the Eagles off the board, something they did superbly through two periods. But all those extra shifts caught up to them in the third and they were unsuccessful in doing the little things like clearing the puck and putting a body on the Eagle forwards in front of the net. This ultimately let BC back in the game and the chance to take the win in overtime. In my opinion losing Hanley that was the difference in the game. I’m not going to comment on the hit itself because I couldn’t see it from where I sit. Either way, I think it was the turning point despite the Minutemen making the necessary adjustments early on.
There were some bright spots in what turned out to be a crushing loss. As mentioned, for two periods Steve Mastalerz and the defense in front of him were dominant. I cannot fault Mastalerz for this loss at all, as it was really breakdowns in front of him that led to most if not all of the goals. Conor Allen had another strong game at defense and picked up a power play goal when pinching in from the blueline. I thought Oleg Yevenko continues to look poised and his skating has improved noticeably. Mike Busillo played in place of Adam Phillips and played probably his best game as a Minuteman. He was solid at defense, showing good positioning, and picked up his first career point on a nice pass to setup Rocco Carzo. Darren Rowe continues to make the most of his chance at defense, scoring his second goal in two games. Colin Shea played very physical and had a team high five blocked shots.
I thought the top line of Mike Pereira, Troy Power, and Conor Sheary looked much better than last week, with Power and Sheary picking up assists during the game. Shane Walsh made his debut as a Minuteman and provided good two way minutes. The fourth line of Patrick Kiley, Kevin Czepiel, and Eddie Olczyk played very well and had a lot to do with BC’s early frustrations on offense.
So overall it was an extremely disappointing loss and a missed opportunity. Kicking off the conference schedule with a win over the team picked to win the league would’ve done a lot to set the tone for the challenging next few weeks and the season in general. Instead the reaction around the fanbase and the rest of college hockey is “typical UMass”. Now I understand that the loss of Hanley early led to the third period breakdowns that ultimately lost UMass the game. But good teams are able to find a way to win when they have a 3-0 third period lead or even a two goal lead with four minutes to go. Friday showed that UMass still has a ways to go to be considered a good team.
Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Rocco Carzo
Earlier in the week Carzo was named Co-Captain of this year’s squad along with Kevin Czepiel. On Friday he absolutely played like one, having his first multi-goal game of his career. There was some debate as to whether Carzo would be able to transform to more of an offensive game this year after playing on the third line for most of last year. So far so good for the senior.
Here’s the recap from the Gazette, including the note that Mike Pereira who was injured late is expected to be OK.
The Collegian has their recap of the crushing loss.
The Boston Herald’s Stephen Harris was in Amherst to cover the game.
Here are the thoughts of the guys over at BC Interruption.
Nick Canelas has the game takeaways for College Hockey News.