BU snaps UMass’ 7-game winning streak via 4-2 victory

  • UMass’ Aaron Bohlinger (25) skates into the zone defended by Boston University’s David Farrance during the visiting Terriers’ 4-2 victory in Hockey East play Sunday at the Mullins Center. THOM KENDALL/UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS

  • UMass’ Carson Gicewicz (11) sets up shop in front of Boston University goalie Drew Commesso and defenseman Nick Zabaneh (10) during the Minutemen’s 4-2 loss in Hockey East action Sunday at the Mullins Center. THOM KENDALL/UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/17/2021 7:26:07 PM

Special teams played a huge role in the UMass hockey team’s seven game winning streak.

Against Boston University on Sunday however, it was the Terriers that had the advantage in odd-man situations. 

Both teams were 1-for-6 on the power-play, but it was BU that capitalized on a short-handed opportunity in the third period to take control of the game, ultimately proving the difference as UMass fell, 4-2, in Hockey East action at the Mullins Center.

It was the Minutemen’s first loss since Dec. 6, but also the first time they’ve taken the ice for a game in 11 days. 

“It was a frustrating loss,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel said. “I was concerned we went too long without a game after winning seven in a row and I was concerned that our mental edge would be off. I thought that was the case tonight.”

Carvel said he felt the long break in action caused the team to lose its edge mentally, and that appeared to be the case at times with multiple game-changing mistakes on both ends of the ice. 

“There were a lot of mental errors that come when you don’t play for an extended period of time,” Carvel said. “Give BU a lot of credit, they blocked a lot of shots, they played with desperation in the third period. It all added up for a frustrating loss. I thought we should have been better tonight but we weren’t.” 

A seven-minute stretch in the third period crippled UMass (9-4-1, 9-4-1 Hockey East).

With the Terriers (2-1, 2-1) leading 3-2, the Minutemen went to the power-play with 14:16 left and a chance to even things up. Right off the faceoff however, Terrier forward Logan Cockerill won a loose puck, beat everyone up the ice for a breakaway and finished to put the visitors up 4-2 with 14:06 to play.

“Cockerill is a very good player,” Carvel said. “You give good players chances, they’ll make you pay.” 

UMass still had plenty of time left on the man-up, but all four of its shots were denied by Terrier goalie Drew Commesso.

Less than a minute after the penalty ended, the Minutemen went back on the power-play, but once again all four shots were stopped by Commesso. Twenty seconds after the second power-play of the period closed, BU went to the box again with 9:24 to play after having too many men on the ice.

Just like the previous two power plays, UMass got off four shots, but none made it to the back of the net as the stingy Terrier defense stood strong in front of Commesso. 

“They really packed it in,” Carvel said. “We didn’t want to just shoot the puck. We’ve had a lot of success on the power-play moving it around and finding guys. I thought they packed it in and were in shot lanes and they wanted to block shots. BU was courageous tonight and blocked a ton of shots.” 

The Minutemen had the majority of opportunities in the game, outshooting BU 35-17 overall and 13-1 in the first period alone, but mental mistakes proved too costly. 

The Terriors got on the board first midway through the opening period off the stick of Dylan Peterson, but it came on an open net after UMass keeper Matt Murray mishandled the puck behind the goal.

The Minutemen answered with a pair of goals to close out the period, the first from Ty Farmer off a give-and-go dish from Josh Lopina. The second came on the power-play, with Zac Jones sending the puck from the point to Oliver Chau on the wing. Chau slipped a pass to Carson Gicewicz in the slot, who blasted home the one-timer to put UMass up 2-1 with 45 seconds left in the period. 

BU evened the score with 11:59 to play in the second period, with Cockerill intercepting a pass at the Minutemen blue line and putting home the breakaway chance. 

David Farrance tallied the Terriers’ third goal of the game 13:24 into the second period on the power-play. The mistakes UMass made in that second period seemed to carry over to the rest of the game. 

“It seemed to be in a continuation of what we saw in the second period of guys not making very smart decisions,” Carvel said. “We need to be better. We need to take better care of those situations.” 

While the Minutemen killed off five of the six BU power-plays, having to go on the penalty kill for so long disrupted their rhythm on offense, according to Carvel.

“Just looking at the penalties that we took, those are the things that creep in when you don’t play for 10 days,” Carvel said. “You’ve won seven in a row and guys get comfortable. You can see it coming a mile away. You have to play games to stay sharp and that’s on us. On our home ice, we needed to win tonight. There’s no excuses no matter how many days off we had, we have to find a way to win these games.”

UMass takes the ice again Monday, traveling to Boston for a rematch with the Terriers. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m.

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