Boston, MA — The Massachusetts Minutemen fired 52 shots on Boston University‘s Sam Tucker, as he backstopped the Terriers to their first win in November. One of the youngest teams in NCAA hockey, Boston U., has struggled to hold onto leads this season. Coming into the third period with a 4-0 lead, BU almost squandered away the game as Tucker and the Terriers hung on for a 4-3 win in front of 3,504 at Agganis Arena.
The Minutemen came out strong to start the game. Jack Suter had a bid in front of BU’s goal but Tucker was there for the stop. The period’s only goal came with Tucker off the ice for a delayed penalty call on the Minutemen. BU’s Matthew Quercia poked a rebound past Massachusetts goalie MattMurray at 7:02 for the 1-0 lead. Trevor Zegras and Patrick Curry would be credited with the assists. UMass’ Bobby Trivigno was sent off for Roughing, giving the Terriers the games first power play. The Minutemen penalty kill was up to the task.
BU’s Jake Wise was called for Tripping at 10:36 putting the Minutemen on the man advantage but Tucker and the Terrier penalty kill were solid.
Tucker made three quick saves as the period wound down, the best of which was a toe save on John Leonard at the left post. UMass out-shot BU 21-7 for the period.
The second period started off with a Mitchell Chaffee chance in the Terrier crease that Tucker gloved out of the air. At the other end BU’s Curry had chance denied by Murray. Then seconds later, after a scramble out front, Curry found the back of the net on a pass from Patrick Harper putting the Terriers up 2-0 at 3:31. The play was reviewed for goalie interference but the goal stood.
At 5:26 Terrior senior Gabriel Chabot skated out from the corner, around the left circle, and fired a wrist shot at the face-off dot past Murray making it 3-0 BU. That would end Murray’s night. The sophomore keeper had seven saves on ten shots in 25:26 of action.
At 12:41 Leonard would beat Tucker with a shot but it clanged off the post. Then Tucker made another toe save, this time on Trivigno. BU’s David Farrance was whistled for Cross-Checking at 11:11 giving UMass another power play. Tucker stonewalled Chaffee on a point blank chance, the best that the Minutemen had on that man advantage.
With Massachusetts defenseman Zac Jones in the box for Holding at 14:38, Leonard had a nice short-handed bid on a mini breakaway but Tucker easily turned the shot aside. After killing off that penalty, Chaffee was in on Tucker on a two on zero, and elected to shoot. The Terrier goalie made a glove save on Chaffee’s wrister from the low circle.
Another call on Jones, this time for Slashing at 19:05, put the Terriers up a man. BU’s Farrance made the Minuteman pay when he roofed a rebound up over goalie Filip Lindberg making it 4-0 at 19:55. The power play goal was Farrance’s seventh power play goal of the season, tops in the NCAA. The junior from Victor, NY leads all defensemen in points (15) and goals (9). The Minutemen outshot the Terriers 17-7 for the period, 38-14 for the game.
Massachusetts struck just forty-eight seconds into the third when freshman defenseman Gianfranco Cassaro crashed the Terrier goal to bang home a rebound at the top of the crease for his first collegiate goal giving his team life. Leonard and Suter would be credited with the assists.
With UMass on a two on one, Chaffee dished to Oliver Chau for his first of the season cutting the lead to 4-2 at 4:08. Boston University used it’s time out after the Chau goal. It seemed to settle the Terriers, who had pressure in the UMass zone shortly after. Robert Mastrosimone whiffed on a one-timer in front of the Minuteman goal around the seven minute mark of the period.
At 8:51 Jones fired a wrist shot from the left face-off dot that beat Tucker making it a one goal Terrier lead. Again BU responded, but couldn’t build on their lead. Harper had shot on goal that Minuteman defenseman Matthew Kessel almost deflected the rebound into his own goal but he fell away from the net.
Zegras stole the puck from Ty Farmer just in front of the Massachusetts net but Lindberg shouldered the puck out of play.
At 18:52 with the face-off coming in the BU zone, UMass pulled Lindberg. An Anthony Del Gaizo chance trickled just wide of the BU goal. After using their timeout at 19:34 the Minutemen had one last desperation bid from the corner but BU’s Farrance laid out at the side of the Terrier goal keeping the puck away from Tucker. UMass had 94 cumulative shot attempts, finishing with 52 shots on goal to BU’s 22.
“I thought we played extremely well tonight,” said Massachusetts coach Greg Carvel. “We got beat by the BU goalie.” Carvel was confident his team would complete the comeback. “I went into the third period believing that we could (comeback) the way we were playing. I thought that was as dominating as we’ve been since I’ve been at UMass, throughout the whole game. The chances BU got they made the most of it.”
“I’m proud of the way we hung in there in the third period,” said BU coach Albie O’Connell. “UMass played a really good game. The difference in that game was obviously Tucker. He was terrific. He made plays, I thought we defended well at our net. They had a lot of shots but not a lot of second shots. We did a good job of boxing out. Like I said Tucker was the difference, sometimes your goalie needs to be the best player for you to win.”
The two teams meet again on Saturday night at the Mullins Center in Amherst. 8:00 pm puck drop.