UMass hockey overtakes Northeastern for 2nd place in Hockey East with home win

  • UMass forward Oliver MacDonald attacks Northeastern center Ty Jackson in the first period Friday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass goalie Matt Murray defends as Northeastern winger Jakov Novak works in front of the net during the first period Friday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass center Josh Lopina scored UMass’ second goal fo the game against Northeastern on Friday at the Mullins Center. It was his first tally since returning frm CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass forward Oliver MacDonald scored his first goal of the season on a breakaway to put the Minutemen up 1-0 against Northeastern on Friday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • Anthony Del Gaizo fires home UMass’ third goal of the second period against Northeastern on Friday at the Mullins Center. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/21/2022 10:36:43 PM
Modified: 1/21/2022 10:35:37 PM

AMHERST — After struggling with its identity most of the season, the UMass hockey team found itself again.

The Minutemen beat Northeastern 3-2 on Friday at the Mullins Center behind three goals in a 10-minute span in the second period and a dominant night in the face off circle. The win pushed UMass past the Huskies into second place in Hockey East with 27 points. UMass Lowell still leads the league with 31 after losing to Merrimack on Friday.

“It looked like UMass hockey,” Carvel said. 

UMass (11-6-2, 8-2-2 Hockey East) controlled 33-of-48 draws, 68.8 percent.

“That’s a dominant night. It helps you a lot when you’re winning face off after face off and the puck possession is great for everyone and helps build momentum,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said.

In the second period, Oliver MacDonald broke the scoreless tie with some special sauce. He intercepted a Northeastern pass in the neutral zone that barreled straight toward the Huskies net, beating Northeastern goalie Devon Levi with a snapped wrist shot 7 minutes, 24 seconds into the second period for his first goal of the year. The sophomore hadn’t scored since Nov. 28, 2020, at Boston College.

“It’s been a while since I got one in,” MacDonald said. “It felt good to get the boys on the score sheet.”

Ryan Lautenbach was credited with an assist on the play.

The Minutemen doubled their lead 32 seconds later. Josh Lopina slammed in close shot standing just outside the crease from fellow top line mates Bobby Trivigno and Garrett Wait. It was Lopina’s first goal back since returning from a wrist injury.

“I swear he lives there,” Trivigno said. “I literally just throw the puckin front of the net, and it just happens, he just bangs it home.”

Northeastern captain Jordan Harris cut the advantage to 2-1 at 10:45 unassisted after a nifty toe drag.

Levi, who could backstop Canada in the Olympics, kept it a one-goal game with an outlandish scorpion kick save that denied Trivigno on a 3-on-1 when he was laying in the crease after stopping an initial attempt 16:14 in. He finished with 31 saves.

“I think if you want to be a championship team, you’ve got to have a legit number one goaltender, and we do,” Northeastern coach Jerry Keefe said. “We feel like when we come off the bus, our goalie’s going to give us a chance every single night.”

Anthony Del Gaizo authored UMass’ response a few seconds later. Cal Keifuck fed him a pass from behind the net as Del Gaizo charged toward Levi, and Del Gaizo rang his fifth goal of the season in off the post for a 3-1 lead at 16:29. 

That was after he missed Thursday’s practice feeling sick.

“He gutted it out and does what he always does,” Carvel said. “He comes up big when you need him to and a scored a beutiful goal that ended up being the game-winner.”

Northeastern tightened the game again in the third period. After UMass defenseman Scott Morrow was whistled for cross checking 3:42 in, Justin Hryckowian delivered an unassisted power play goal a little over a minute later that made it 3-2.

Matt Murray kept out 26 shots for the Minutemen.

“Our guys kept playing hard and did a good job salting the game away,” Carvel said. “I think Matt Murray was quietly solid. As I tell him, you keep it to two, we’ll find a way to score three.”

In a scoreless first period, UMass out shot Northeastern 14-8. The Minutemen won 12-of-15 face-offs.

The teams will do it again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Matthews Arena. No fans are allowed, but the game will be broadcast on NESN+.

“I may wear the quarter-zip tomorrow night,” Carvel said. “Go back to COVID times.”

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


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