Last night’s game started very differently than when these two teams met last month and combined for zero goals and just nine shots in the first period. Instead the Minutemen grabbed the lead right away, just 46 seconds into the game, and the UMass fans who got to the Mullins Center on time thought they just may get to witness an upset. Instead the Eagles would clamp down defensively for most of the game, severely limit UMass’ chances, and roll to a 5-3 win. The loss dropped UMass to 3-6-0 on the season and just 1-5-0 in Hockey East.
Ray Pigozzi got UMass on the board in the first minute of the game when Steven Iacobellis was able to feed the puck ahead to PIgozzi who split the defensemen and went in for the goal. BC would control most of the rest of the period though and would get their first power play in 27 attempts with just under five minutes left on a Chris Calnan shot from the point. BC would take the lead exactly one minute later when Marc Hetnik turned the puck over in the UMass zone and Cam Spiro skated in on goaltender Henry Dill and scored
The second was the lone period where UMass held a shot advantage during the game, outshooting the Eagles 7-4 due in part to a couple power plays during the frame. But it would be BC who would score the only goal in the second. A streaking Quinn Smith would skate into the UMass zone and have his shot deflect behind Dill after hitting a UMass skate. The Minutemen would attempt to climb back into the game in the third, scoring two goals during the period. But each UMass goal was quickly answered by an Eagle goal and some very poor defense ultimately led to the two goal final margin. Four goals would be scored in a five minute span, starting with a power play deflection by Troy Power, his first goal of the season. Calnan would score his fourth goal of the season against UMass just a few minutes later as the Eagles blew by the UMass defense on the rush. Marc Hetnik would score 32 seconds after that to pull the Minutemen back within one goal again. But Noah Hanfin extended the margin to two goals a couple minutes later. BC would control possession for the remaindier of the game and the loss was in the books.
It was discouraging to see the improved UMass offense be so dominated last night. The Minutemen were held to just 21 shots during the night, including only 5 during the third period when they were trying to make their comeback. Dennis Kravchenko who had been very hot heading into the off week, did not register a single shot on goal in the game. On defense UMass played very poorly as well. The BC goals that negated UMass’ comeback in the third could’ve been prevented with better defensive coverage. Too often Eagle forwards were able to easily skate right in on net without so much as being touched. Dill did not have a great game, but he didn’t get a lot of help either given the quality chances that BC regularly got throughout the game.
I’m not a big fan of singling out “must win games” in November. But tonight’s contest against Vermont is extremely important. UMass does not want to fall to 1-6-0 in Hockey East. That is not an easy hole to try to climb out of. But to have success tonight they’ll have to play much differently than they did yesterday. Vermont has one of the best defenses in the country and strong goaltending. A 21 shot effort against them probably isn’t going to get the job done. I would suspect the Catamount team would be fired up after a narrow loss last night to UConn. Hopefully the Minutemen are equally fired up after not making the most of the early momentum from last night.
Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Ray Pigozzi
Pigozzi’s early goal gave UMass an early chance to win the game and later in the game he assisted on the Hetnik score.