Chestnut Hill, Ma. — Less than 24 hours after finishing a classic Hockey East battle Massachusetts and Boston College were at it again on the outskirts of Boston. Coming into tonight’s action UMass was still atop the standings, while BC had slipped to fifth place.
The first period picked up where last’s game left off. It was a physical, chippy, sloppy 20 minutes. BC was having trouble breaking out of the defensive zone cleanly, yet the Minutemen couldn’t break Joesph Woll. UMass had the first power play of the evening at 5:42 when Jack McBain was called for Elbowing. BC had a solid penalty kill the entire two minutes.
Once again BC opened the scoring when Graham McPhee wristed a shot past Matt Murray from the left face-off dot. Cam Brown and Marc McLaughlin factored on the assists. UMass John Leonard was called for Interference at 17:09, BC had pressure but Murray made a nice glove save on a Casey Fitzgerald blast from the point. A Hooking call on BC’s McBain at 19:44 would give the Minutemen a clean sheet of ice to operate the man advantage on at the start of the second.
UMass wasted no time in taking advantage of the power play on the fresh ice. Jake Pritchard fired a pass from the sideboard to a wide-open Leonard, who had time to kick the puck to his stick and wrist a shot past Woll tying the game at one. Leonard’s goal was from the same spot as McPhee’s. Half a minute later BC’s Oliver Wahlstrom was whistled for Boarding giving UMass another power play. Minuteman Oliver Chau outmuscled Jesper Mattila for the puck in front of Woll, took possession of it and spun around to fire it past Woll giving UMass the 2-1 lead at 1:50 of the second.
Matching penalties at 7:21 to BC’s JD Dudek and McPhee and UMass’ Colin Felix and Jake McLaughlin, all four for Hitting After the Whistle attests to the choppiness of the evening.
Off of an offensive zone face-off in the Eagles end, UMass’ Pritchard threw a harmless wrist shot on Woll that the goalie misplayed. He didn’t make the catch with his glove and the puck went in giving UMass a 3-1 lead at 12:05. Bobby Trivigno was called for Interference at 12:34 giving BC the man advantage. The Eagles won a draw to the left of Murray, tic-tac-toe passing by McPhee, Brown, and Dudek led to McPhee’s second goal of the game at 13:56. A Makar Slashing penalty at 15:38 gave BC more momentum to build on. Heady stick work by last night’s hero McLaughlin kept a rebound, that bounced over a sliding Murray, from going into the UMass net. The eventful second ended with the Minutemen outshooting the Eagles 14-13.
The third period had back to back penalties on UMass that helped BC keep a rhythm. An Interference call at 3:43 on Anthony Del Gaizo followed by a Tripping call on Matt Murray, that Trivigno served, at 5:24. UMass successfully killed both but the Eagles were relentless. BC controlled play for the remainder of the game. At 18:02 the Eagles pulled Woll with an offensive zone face-off in UMass’ end. A few attempts on goal by the Minutemen led to a few icing calls. Finally one went slow enough to not be called icing and a Minuteman forward beat a BC defender to the puck and passed it back to Jake Gaudet who sealed the “W” for UMass at 19:41. The visiting Minutemen outshot BC 31-25 and lost the face-off battle 35-28.
“We’ve had a lot of milestones this year, a lot of fun,” Minutemen coach Greg Carvel said. “I thought tonight was an excellent road game. We executed our game plan, guys played well without the puck” he said. “This weekend, maybe more so than any weekend, gives me a lot of confidence in our team.” And indeed it was a big weekend for the Minutemen who reached 30 points in Hockey East and moved six points ahead of second place Lowell and Providence.
As for Boston College, coach Jerry York added “We’re close, they’re a touch better than we are right now. We’re coming hard, our club.” He talked about losing to UMass and Northeastern this week saying “We lost to two really good clubs. I think we’re right there on the doorstep.” Unfortunately, the Eagles are sliding down the standings after this weekend’s sweep at the hands of the Minutemen. They currently sit in fifth on 21 points, as other teams creep closer.
BC heads to Maine for two against the Black Bears on Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, UMass plays UConn Thursday at home and travel to Providence for a Saturday tilt with a 5:00 pm puck drop.