The Minutemen fall once again to Boston College Hockey, 3-1

UMass loses both games in the doubleheader against the Eagles, they’ll look to turn it around next weekend against Northeastern.

John Ruggiero, Sports Co-Editor

The Minutemen put up a better fight in this game, compared to the last. They got the first goal, but the Eagles came roaring back with three goals of their own and ultimately won this game. UMass goaltender Cole Brady recorded his first start since November 4 against the Providence Friars. He was solid but the offense simply could not get anything going after the first goal.

Unfortunate Outcome

The first and only Minutemen goal came at 8:33 into the first period when UMass forward Michael Cameron marvelously tipped home a shot from forward Kenny Connors at the blue line. That was Cameron’s ninth goal of the season, tied for the most among his fellow men in maroon.

The first BC goal came on the powerplay in the final minute of the second period when forward Trevor Kuntar got his own tip that fluttered right over the shoulder of Brady and landed perfectly in the net for an Eagles power-play goal. The contest was tied going into the third period. Unlike the game prior, both teams had a chance to win. However, the Minutemen have struggled all season to play a full sixty minutes and the third period has repeatedly been their worst. This time out, it was no different.

With 14:25 remaining in the third period, Kuntar beautifully dangled around Brady and hit home his second goal of the night with the assist from forward Andre Gasseau. Kuntar’s second of the night was good for his 25th point on the year, which is third on the Eagles. The final goal of the game came only three minutes later from forward Connor Joyce. The puck was hit off the end boards by defenseman Warren Marshall and it bounced back in front for Joyce to hit it past the unprepared goaltender Brady. That capped off Boston College’s third straight win as they improved to 12-12-6, while the Minutemen fell to 10-15-5.

“I thought for two periods, I really liked our game,” said UMass head coach Greg Carvel after the game. “…I was pretty confident that we were going to come out and find a way to win in the third and it was far from that. We’ve just got to stick together, keep grinding it out. It’s been a rough year, but trust me, we’re learning from it.”

Penalties have been a problem as of late for the Minutemen. Over this two-game series, they took 11 penalties, adding up to 33 minutes. Forward Taylor Makar took three of those penalties, adding up to 17 minutes as he took a major penalty which counts for two penalties, adding up to 15 minutes. The other penalty was a two-minute minor.

Makar leads the team in penalty minutes on the season, with 52. So, if the Minutemen want any chance in another doubleheader against Northeastern next weekend, they’ll have to clean up the penalties.

Huskies Preview

The Northeastern Huskies are coming into this game ranked No. 16 in the nation with a 15-10-5 record. Last time out the Huskies beat the Vermont Catamounts 3-0, and before that, they won the 70th Annual Beanpot Tournament, beating two great teams: Boston University and Harvard. The Huskies have been on a tear as of late, thanks to forwards senior Aiden McDonough and Justin Hryckowian. They are the two leaders in points for NU. Sitting at a staggering +21 on the year is the underrated defenseman Hunter McDonald. 

In goal, is junior Devon Levi. Last time out he saved all 42 Catamounts shots. He has been on fire as of late, recording a 2.24 GAA and a .933 SV%. His save percentage is good for second-best in the country. The Huskies have weapons all over the ice, it is going to be a tough battle for the Minutemen.

For UMass, Coach Carvel has a tough decision on who to go to with in net. He could go with Brady, who stopped 28 of 31 Eagles shots last night. Or, there is Henry Graham and the struggling Luke Pavicich. Cole Brady is the likely pick, but do not be surprised if Graham or Pavicich see time.

Look for Connors on the offensive side. He was one of the best forwards in the BC series and currently has a five-game point streak to his name. Cameron has been the next-best forward. If UMass wants any chance at winning, these two need to be on their best game.

Friday night will be the final home game of the regular season for the Minutemen. Then, both teams head to Boston to complete the doubleheader in Matthews Arena. This series will certainly be a test of their resilience. Can the Minutemen pull a rabbit out of the hat with their backs against the wall? Look for both teams to put their best foot forward as the season nears its end.

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