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UMass hockey can't hold lead, falls to Boston University

Sahir Gill’s goal with 1 minute, 22 seconds left in the third period gave No. 13 Boston University a 3-2 win over the Minutemen at the Mullins Center.

“It was a good weekend of hockey. I’m not happy with the result obviously,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “There are a lot of positives for us to build on. The things that break my heart is that they’re not getting the reward that they should. When we play well, we’re a very good team. But we have a small margin for error. It’s heartening to see us develop as a team, but obviously the results would be nice to have as well. It’s a process. But athletes and competitors are not patient people.”

The Minutemen will try to snap their three-game losing streak at 7 p.m. Friday when they host New Hampshire at the Mullins Center.

UMass took a 1-0 lead on a late first-period power play. After BU goalie Matt O’Connor stopped back-to-back shots by Conor Sheary at close range, the rebound caromed to Shane Walsh in the left-wing faceoff circle. The freshman snapped it past O’Connor for his first career goal with 3:11 remaining.

Rocco Carzo doubled the lead early in the second. He was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down from behind by Garrett Noonan on a short-handed breakaway. Carzo, who wasn’t sure he’d ever taken a penalty shot in a game before, decided to use O’Connor’s 6-foot-5 height against him.

“It obviously takes him a long time to get down. I thought quick shot five-hole would work,” Carzo said. “And I guess it did obviously.”

BU controlled the second period after the penalty shot, outshooting UMass 17-7. Wade Megan made it 2-1 with 15:08 left in the period, shoving the puck by UMass goalie Kevin Boyle amid chaos in front of the net. Matt Nieto tied the game with 5:14 left in the second on a tip-in.

UMass, which collapsed and lost a three-goal lead on Oct. 19 against Boston College, seemed to rally after losing its two-goal edge.

“After we scored two goals, guys started to pull up a bit,” Carzo said. “All of us saw it. That’s when they took it to us.”

The Minutemen dictated play for most of the third period, outshooting the Terriers 20-9, but couldn’t solve O’Connor, who kept BU afloat until Gill delivered the winner.

Sheary nearly tied the game with 41 seconds left, but O’Connor (34 saves) got his right skate to the post a split second before the Minuteman forward could poke it in.

Boyle made 32 saves for UMass.

“I thought our goaltending was very strong tonight. I thought Kevin gave us an opportunity to win,” Micheletto said. “To have that opportunity and perform so well, I wish the result was better for him.”

NOTES: BU coach Jack Parker didn’t make the trip to Amherst as he’s battling a back injury. ... The crowd of 7,357 was UMass’ third straight home attendance over 7,000. ... The penalty goal was UMass’ first since Jeff Turner converted one against UMass-Lowell on Feb. 6, 2000.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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