UMass dominates second period in ugly win over Northeastern

Staff Writer
Published: 11/1/2019 11:22:59 PM
Modified: 11/1/2019 11:22:44 PM

BOSTON — The tone of the message changed when Bobby Trivigno lifted Tyler Spott’s stick.

In the prior 13 minutes, UMass had fallen out of its game plan and allowed Northeastern to dominate the ice. A holding penalty on Reed Lebster less than 90 seconds into the game ruined a promising start for the Minutemen, and the Huskies took advantage. They were minutes away from skating into the locker room with a multi-goal lead after 20 minutes.

Instead, Trivigno lifted Spott’s stick, stole the puck and flipped a backhand just under the crossbar to put No. 3 UMass on the board. It was all the momentum coach Greg Carvel needed when he entered the locker room between the first and second period.

“That goal allowed me to say ‘Hey, just go out and win your battles, it’s that simple,’” Carvel said. “It wasn’t any fiery speech, it was let’s just decide we’re going to play harder and see what happens. That’s what they did.”

The Minutemen scored 49 seconds into the second period on the power play, and used that to steamroll the 10th-ranked Huskies in the middle stanza. UMass scored four goals on 13 shots in the second period while holding Northeastern to just five shot attempts. It was the recipe the visitors needed to turn around the game and leave Matthews Arena with a 6-3 triumph.

“We reset in the second period and decided that we’re going to play a certain brand of hockey,” Carvel said. “It was simple, hard, get to the net, make them make mistakes, be physical and we took over the game in the second period.”

UMass (5-1-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East) almost scored on the first shift of the game and continued to buzz around the Northeastern zone on the first few shifts. But Lebster was caught reaching after losing the puck in the corner and Northeastern (4-2-1, 1-1-0 HEA) snapped the Minutemen’s consecutive penalty killing streak at 26 just 3:05 into the game. The ice continued to tilt in the Huskies’ favor after that goal as they put plenty of pressure on Filip Lindberg to make saves.

Lindberg’s biggest stop came shortly after Northeastern took the lead when T.J. Walsh walked in on a breakaway and tried to fire glove side. Instead, the sophomore snared the shot to keep the deficit at a reasonable level. He made several other important saves to keep the deficit at just two in the first period.

Yet, it wasn’t until Spott got complacent in the neutral zone and let Trivigno lift his stick that UMass was able to steady its play. Trivigno was able to skate under the play and retrieve the puck as well and skate calmly in on goal. A simple deke tricked Craig Pantano to the ground and the sophomore lifted the puck over him to give the Minutemen a huge charge of energy.

“Anytime you score late in a period, it’s a huge momentum shift that way,” Trivigno said. “It felt good to score, but I was glad to get the boys going.”

Once the Minutemen started to settle into their game, they started to take over the action at both ends of the ice. Amherst native John Leonard drew a penalty with five seconds left in the first period then Oliver Chau drew one early in the second to create an extended two-man advantage.

All UMass had to do was pass the puck around the cycle and wait for the Huskies to shift out of position. It finally happened as Mitchell Chaffee fed Zac Jones at the point and the freshman zipped a cross-ice pass to Leonard, who buried the puck before Pantano even had time to react to the pass from Jones.

“We’ve been working on it a lot in practice this week and it transferred over,” Chaffee said. “It’s a big goal for us. Five-on-threes, you’ve got to score and it was a nice play by Zac and then Leno to finish that.”

Matthew Kessel unknotted the game five minutes after Leonard tied it with a long drive that somehow evaded Chaffee’s big body setting a screen in front of the goal. After picking up assists on the first two goals of the period, Chaffee got in on the action himself with a lucky bounce off his skate while crashing the net on a Kessel shot that Chau redirected into Chafee’s path. Lebster finished off the second-period scoring burst, deflecting home a forceful pass from Gianfranco Cassaro as he went to the net himself.

The common theme of the three goals that put UMass ahead for good was sending bodies to the front of the net. It isn’t something the Minutemen have done consistently the past few seasons, but it’s something that has always led to success for them when they commit to it.

“We’re getting better, it’s still a weakness in our game,” Carvel said. “It’s something we need to get better at, but when you get rewarded for it, guys will start doing it more.”




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