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UMass put on ice in opener as BU skates away in second period

BOSTON — A tough 10 minutes to start the second period killed the University of Massachusetts hockey team’s hopes of opening the season on a high note.

Boston University struck for three quick goals early in the second and never looked back as the Minutemen fell 3-1, Friday at Agganis Arena.

Debuting new road uniforms with the word “Massachusetts” across the front with the state crest on the left shoulder, the Minutemen hoped to ruin the first night of the Dave Quinn era at BU. Quinn replaced college hockey legend Jack Parker, who retired after last season, but UMass couldn’t dig out of the second-period hole.

Still, UMass coach John Micheletto left the game optimistic.

“Good hockey game. Good start for us,” Micheletto said. “We just came up a little short in the details category. ... We gave up more opportunities than anyone would have liked in the second period. I liked our fight. I liked our pace. I liked our ability to create offense, but we didn’t finish the way anybody would have wanted.”

After a scoreless, mostly even first period, BU stormed out of intermission and caught UMass flat-footed. Senior captain Garrett Noonan put the Terriers ahead 1-0, 62 seconds into the middle frame. Taking a pass from Ahti Oksanen, he walked into the slot and fired the puck past Minuteman goalie Steve Mastalerz.

Just over four minutes later, BU doubled its edge when Cason Hoffman’s centering pass from behind the net found freshman Tommy Kelley, who snapped it by Mastalerz to make it 2-0.

Evan Rodrigues continued the onslaught, scoring on a break-in with 12:28 left in the second.

Trailing 3-0, UMass nearly got on the board when BU goalie Sean Maguire’s momentum, after stopping Conor Sheary’s shot on a breakaway, appeared to carry the puck into the net. The initial call was no goal and the replay wasn’t conclusive enough to overturn it with 10:04 left in the second.

“We came out a little flat” in the second, Mastalerz said. “But we got it going again.”

Freshman Steven Iacobellis scored his first collegiate goal to avoid a shutout for the Minutemen. He one-timed an Adam Phillips pass past Maguire on the power play with 9:36 left to make it 3-1.

The Minutemen had more shots on goal than BU (40-24), but Maguire (39 saves) was sharp. Another 22 UMass shots were blocked by the Terrier defense. Mastalerz made 21 saves.

“I have no problem with Steve’s performance tonight,” Micheletto said. “I thought he was good. He made an unbelievable save there in the second period on a 2-on-1 to keep it at three.”

UMass (0-1, 0-1 Hockey East) will face No. 1-ranked Lowell, Saturday at 7 p.m. at Tsongas Arena. Despite both teams being in the conference, it won’t count in Hockey East standings. The River Hawks fell to Sacred Heart, 2-1 Friday.

“Obviously you want to come out with a win,” Mastalerz said. “You’re not going to win them all, but it was a good effort for the whole team. It’s definitely something to build off of.”

UMass’ penalty kill was a highlight as the Minutemen killed 6-of-7 power plays, including a five-minute major and a two-minute five-on-three.

In addition to the penalties, UMass had a short bench for most of the game. Sophomore Shane Walsh was called for a hitting-from-behind major penalty that comes with a game-misconduct and ejection. Troy Power, who missed most of last year with an injury, also left the game with an undisclosed injury in the second. Power returned for the third period.

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

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