Northeastern goalie Chris Rawlings shuts down UMass in 1-0 win
AMHERST — Northeastern goalie Chris Rawlings stopped everything the University of Massachusetts threw at him. From the Minutemen’s 14 shots in the first period to the six UMass put on goal during a five-minute power play late in the third period.
The Minutemen had to settle for a bad result, a 1-0 loss, after a good effort.
“Rawlings played really well tonight. We had a lot of quality chances,” UMass forward Conor Sheary said. “We made him look a little better than he was, but he still played really well.”
Rawlings hoped that the win would spark the Huskies (5-7-1, 3-6-1 Hockey East), who’d been winless in their last seven league games.
“When you’re struggling like we have been in the past little while, you need solid goaltending to get you out of it,” said Rawlings, who finished with 31 saves. “The defense kept it simple in front of me. A lot of the shots in the first half of the game were from the outside. That’s a good way to start the game. I was seeing the puck well.”
The Minutemen (4-6-2, 3-6-1) and Huskies will play at 7 p.m. Saturday at Matthews Arena in Boston.
“Good effort and execution tonight for our guys,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “Obviously I would have liked for one of our 31 shots to go in and one of their 17 to not. Other than that I have nothing but positives to say about our play tonight.”
The goal came on a fortunate accident for the Huskies, who appeared to be confused on a short-handed line change. Four player went to the bench and only three replaced them, giving UMass a 5-on-3 for a few seconds.
When Adam Reid finally jumped onto the ice, Dustin Darou collected the puck and launched the touchdown pass. Reid caught it just before the blue line and walked in on a breakaway.
When UMass goalie Kevin Boyle (16 saves) dropped to the ice, Reid switched from his backhand to his forehand and tucked it behind Boyle to put Northeastern ahead 1-0 with 2:47 left in the second.
The Minutemen had to juggle their lineup down stretch as both Darren Rowe (upper body injury) and Troy Power (lower body) had to be helped off the ice with injuries. Micheletto wasn’t sure of the severity of either one.
Power’s injury came as a result of a rare kneeing penalty by Northeastern’s Josh Manson that gave UMass a five-minute power play with 6:08 left.
The Mullins Center crowd of 4,121 thought Sheary had tied the game when his slapshot from the top of the slot got past Rawlings.
The officials, who initially ruled no goal, consulted the replay, which revealed that the puck hit the cross bar, bounced off of Rawling’s back and tricked off to the side of the net.
“I heard it hit the cross bar over my right shoulder and I knew it didn’t go in,” Rawlings said. “It ended up on the side of the net. There was no way if it went in it could end up there.”
UMass didn’t get a better look the rest of the way.
“We have to be happy with how well we played and keep striving to get better with our conversion rate,” Micheletto said.
Matt Vautour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.