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UMass hockey takes down No. 2 Boston College

For the third straight game this season, the University of Massachusetts hockey team watched an early lead disappear against Boston College.

But this time the Minutemen bounced back and scored three unanswered goals late to upset the No. 2 Eagles, 5-2 at Conte Forum Friday. It was UMass’ first win at BC since 2007, a stretch of 13 games.

“To get the seniors a ‘W’ in what’s hopefully their last time there, is big,” junior Michael Pereira said. “To really bear down and win when our backs are against the wall at 2-2 is something big.”

BC’s Steven Whitney scored 4 minutes, 8 seconds into the third period to tie the game at 2-2, where it stayed for almost nine minutes. Pereira broke the tie with 6:57 remaining on assists from Branden Gracel and Colin Shea.

The dam broke after that. Freshman K.J. Tierfenwerth beat BC goalie Parker Milner (21 saves) 68 seconds later.

BC (13-5-2, 10-4-1 Hockey East) had a near sellout crowd anticipating a ceremony honoring coach Jerry York for becoming college hockey’s career wins leader. But that was postponed when York underwent eye surgery earlier this week. Instead, many of those 7,772 fans left early when Gracel, who had two goals and an assist in the game, made it 5-2 with 3:34 left to clinch the win.

“I don’t think there’s a better example of lessons well-learned than tonight,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “We always thought we were going to learn some lessons in the first half of the year. If we could apply them positively in the second half, that’s what we were looking for. Tonight was a good step in that direction.”

UMass (8-11-2, 5-8-1) built its lead on special teams — a Steven Guzzo short-handed goal early in the first period and a Gracel power-play strike with 55 seconds left in the first.

BC got one in the second before Whitney tied the game early in the third.

Helped by strong goaltending by Steve Mastalerz, who made 21 saves in his second straight start, UMass killed a 5-on-3 power play in the first period and all six BC man advantages in the game.

“On the 5-on-3 he made a couple of very, very good saves that gave us a boost and allowed us to get out of there without any damage,” said Micheletto.

“You can’t say enough about Steve Mastalerz’s performance,” Pereira said. “He really kept us in there in the first eight minutes.”

The win was the third over a ranked team this season for the Minutemen, who have two games at Vermont next weekend.

“We’ll leave this behind us, but we won’t forget it. We’ll build off it,” Pereira said.

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