Boston College puts away UMass 6-3 to sweep series

  • UMass goalie Filip Lindberg makes a save against Boston College, Saturday at the Mullins Center. BC won 6-3. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/28/2020 9:47:00 PM

All three of the UMass hockey team’s goals Saturday either tied No. 2 Boston College or brought the seventh-ranked Minutemen within one goal.

The Eagles had an answer every single time in a 6-3 win at the Mullins Center.

“We found ways to keep clawing back in the game, then we had breakdowns,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “Boston College made sure we paid for them pretty quickly.”

BC (2-0), much like Friday night, lit the lamp first. Drew Helleson’s breakout pass found Patrick Giles down the right side. He waited for Marc McLaughlin to find the perfect spot on UMass goalie Filip Lindberg’s opposite side and slid a perfect pass for him to bury first-time.

UMass (1-2-1) pulled even less than two minutes later. Phillip Lagunov found the net from Ryan Sullivan and Jerry Harding. It was a quicker answer than Friday, when the Minutemen went down 2-0 before kicking into gear in the second period. Lagunov didn’t dress for UMass’ first game and scored in the second game against UConn last weekend. He followed a similar script against the Eagles.

“I’ll be hard on Phil all year, he’ll keep scoring and it’ll be a nice situation,” Carvel said.

The Eagles reinstated their lead 2 minutes, 45 seconds later. Hellison smashed a shot from the right circle on the power play. It was the first goal the Minutemen allowed a man down all year, breaking a streak of 16 straight kills.

“We gave up a lot of goals but I don’t think we gave up a lot of chances,” Carvel said. “The chances they got were high-end and they’re a good team. If they get good scoring chances they’re going to be in the back of the net.”

Cody Ambrosio made it a two-goal BC lead 1:30 into the second period. Oliver McDonald’s goal pulled UMass back to a single-goal deficit halfway through the period, but McLaughlin restored it 1:48 later.

UMass refused to go away like Thursday’s leftovers. Jake Gaudet scored his first goal of the year 7:54 into the third period to make it 4-3 and the Eagles sweat.

“We kept playing, we kept working, kept scoring and keeping the game close,” Carvel said. “We’re not a high skill team, we have to work to get the puck to the back of the net.”

Mike Hardman settled BC down with his own tally at 13:11. UMass pulled Filip Lindberg, who made 17 saves, with 3:28 remaining down two goals trying to create chaos. The Minutemen sustained pressure but couldn’t pull any closer before Nikita Nesterenko put the game to bed with an empty-netter in the final 10 seconds.

“We gave up a lot of goals, but I don’t think we gave up a lot of chances,” Carvel said. “It’s not anything against our goaltender. The chances they got were high-end.”

UMass was playing without three of its defensemen because of injury.

“The back end is really the strength of our team and when you take a third of them out of the lineup that’s tough,” Carvel said.

Freshman Josh Lopina won 15 of 24 faceoffs, allowing the Minutemen more possessions. They outshot BC 33-23. He took many of the draws late when Lindberg was out of the net so UMass could keep the pressure up. Lopina started on the first line after playing on the second one Friday.

“We trust him, and he’s becoming a pretty important player for us,” Carvel said.

Carson Gicewicz finished with two assists. Gaudet added an assist to also tally two points.

SCHEDULING CHAOS – The Minutemen are scheduled to play New Hampshire next weekend, but the Wildcats had a positive COVID-19 case that shut down their planned series against BC last weekend. UMass is the only Hockey East team to play four games. UConn and BC, their opponents, are the only other squad to see the ice so far.

“Any schedule put out by the league throw it in the trash and light it on fire,” Carvel said. “I think by Tuesday everyone’s going to know if they’re playing and who they’re playing.”

Both UMass series have followed similar time schedules. The Minutemen played at 6 p.m. Friday then 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

“(It) isn’t fair to the players. It’s not enough recovery time. These games are hard,” Carvel said. “I don’t know why we can’t take a day off - I know why, it’s TV. It’s a lot to ask to turn around and play less than 24 hours later.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.

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