Matt Murray stands out as Michigan sweeps UMass hockey in Ann Arbor

  • UMass goalie Matt Murray made 79 saves in two games at Michigan this weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass senior captain Bobby Trivigno put away a shorthanded goal in the third period against Michigan on Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass forward Ryan Lautenbach is wrapped up from behind by Michigan defenseman Owen Power on Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass forward Ryan Lautenbach battles Michigan defenseman Owen Power for the puck Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass defenseman Scott mOrrow protects the puck against Michigan on Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass captain Bobby Trivigno is sandwiched by the Michigan defense Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines swept a weekend series. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/9/2022 7:44:31 PM
Modified: 1/9/2022 7:43:39 PM

If not for UMass goalie Matt Murray, the sweep would have looked a lot worse.

No. 6 Michigan fired 85 shots at the Minutemen’s net and won two games in Ann Arbor, Mich.: 4-1 on Saturday and 4-2 Sunday at Yost Ice Arena. Two were empty netters after the 10th-ranked Minutemen pulled Murray.

He saved 79 attempts: 39 on Saturday and 40 on Sunday. His career high is 41 from earlier this season against Providence.

“He made a lot of huge saves and he’s the kind of goalie that makes some big saves look like normal, like routine,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said.

But UMass’ offense couldn’t match his performance with enough pressure to take the heat off of him. The Minutemen managed 59 shots over the weekend and never led.

They improved from Saturday to Sunday even if the scoreboard only showed a difference of one goal.

“I was much happier with our effort (Sunday),” Carvel said. “I really liked our start and our energy.”

Michigan scored first in both games, and Brendan Brisson, who had three goals in the series, tallied both openers. Sunday, he struck with 56 seconds remaining in the first period from Matty Beniers and Kent Johnson.

In the second period a blue line turnover – the Minutemen’s bane in the series – put Michigan up 2-0. Hingham native Beniers blasted home a one-timer from Brisson and Johnson.

“I think that was a big changing point in the game,” Carvel said. “It’s a bad turnover. It kind of sucks the life out of you.”

Michigan (16-6-1) added a second with 2:59 remaining off another turnover. Dylan Duke finished in close from Nick Blankenburg and Luke Hughes.

“The guys found their feet again, even at 3-0 the kids were still competing,”Carvel said. “I challenged the kid, and they played hard. It’s a tough place to play on the road. They’re a good team. Our guys gave it a good shot.”

Senior captain Bobby Trivigno led the charge in the third period. Michigan went on its vaunted power play (No. 7 in the nation) after UMass’ Ryan Sullivan was sent to the box for hooking 13:43 into the third.

Trivigno intercepted a pass shortly after the face off and tore toward the Michigan net, finishing the breakaway for UMass’ first goal since the first period Saturday. It made it 3-1 with 6:10 remaining and was his 100th career point as a Minuteman. He’s 14th in team history. Three are tied at No. 11 with 102: Bill Harris, Thomas Pock and Jack Edwards. Pat Keenan tops the list with 180.

“We could have used a little more of that this weekend. That’s what he is. He just outwills people,” Carvel said. “We need Bobby to score goals like that down the stretch. He’s been a little quiet lately. Hopefully that’ll get him going.”

UMass (10-6-2) pulled Murray shortly after the power play expired with 2:30 remaining, then Johnny Beecher made it 4-1 for the second night in a row with an empty netter from the other side of the ice.

But the Minutemen weren’t done. UMass’ Anthony Del Gaizo and Michigan’s Jack Summers went to the box with 27 seconds remaining for matching roughing penalties. 

Josh Lopina won the ensuing face off, and freshman Ryan Ufko clapped home a slapshot four seconds later from Matthew Kessel and Trivigno to cut the lead to 4-2.

“Give the kids credit,” Carvel said. “They fought to the end.”

Saturday night, Michigan opened the scoring but Minnesota transfer Garrett Wait tied it late in the first period for the Minutemen. The Wolverines scored three in the third period to put the game away.

“Things that have been issues all year were exposed this weekend, and we’ve got to clean those up,” Carvel said. “I’m glad we played these games. It’s a tough place to play. This is an excellent hockey team in Michigan. We walk out of here holding our heads high.”

UMass doesn’t play again until Jan. 21 when it hosts No. 11 Northeastern for the first half of a home and home. The Minutemen expect their full lineup to be available that game after struggling with injuries throughout the first half and COVID protocols early in the second half.

“I think it’s important that we get people in the spots they should be in and in defined roles, which have changed every game,” Carvel said. “We need guys to stay in their roles and grow in them. When everybody on the team knows what their role and their identity is, it helps a lot. It’s been hard to do that so far this year.”

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