No. 5 Minnesota State sweeps No. 1 UMass hockey with third-period rally

  • UMass center Eric Faith (28) tries to scrape the puck past Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay while being fought off by defender Jack McNeely (3) in the third period Saturday at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass faces off against Minnesota State in the first period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass captain and left wing Bobby Trivigno (8) takes a shot against Minnesota State in the third period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass right wing Reed Lebster (13) fights for the puck behind the net against Minnesota State defender Benton Maass (11) in the second period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass right wing Jerry Harding (22) cuts down the ice under pressure from Minnesota State defender Jake Livingstone (23) in the second period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass right wing Reed Lebster (13) fights for the puck behind the net against Minnesota State defender Benton Maass (11) in the second period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • Scott Morrow, of UMass, takes a shot against Minnesota State in the third period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass left wing Cal Kiefiuk (7) hands the puck away from Minnesota State defender Andy Carroll (4) in the third period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass plays to a packed house for the season opener against Minnesota State on Saturday night at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • UMass left wing Cal Kiefiuk (7) hands the puck away from Minnesota State defender Andy Carroll (4) in the third period Saturday night during the season opener at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

  • The band plays amongst a packed house for the UMass season opener against Minnesota State on Saturday night at the Mullins Center in Amherst. FOR THE GAZETTE/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/2/2021 11:41:21 PM

AMHERST — The honeymoon’s over.

No. 5 Minnesota State reminded the defending national champion UMass hockey team that they won the title last year, and 2021 is a clean slate by sweeping the Minutemen at the Mullins Center over the weekend. The Mavericks won 2-0 on Saturday after UMass raised its national championship banner then rallied from a three-goal deficit with a dominant third period to prevail 6-3 on Sunday.

“We’re going to get everybody’s best. We remember too easily what it was like to be on the other side of that. It’s fun to take a shot (at No. 1),” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “We’re not on top anymore. We’re not No. 1 anymore. That’s for goddamn sure.”

The Minutemen (0-2) allowed a Reggie Lutz goal within the first minute Saturday and never generated much pressure. They only had one shot in the first period and eight through the first two.

“We didn’t play like champions (Saturday night),” UMass captain Bobby Trivigno said. “It’s great to see everyone come out, but it’s up to us to put on the show. We’ve got to turn the page, it’s a new season.”

UMass showed more life in the third period, forcing 10 saves from Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay, an All-American and Hobey Baker finalist last season. Julian Napravnik put the game out of reach with 4 minutes, 10 seconds left.

But the promise of that period gave the Minutemen a blueprint Sunday.

Eric Faith scored UMass’ first goal of the season 4:17 in after a nifty cross-ice pass from freshman Scott Morrow, who registered his first career point on the play. Ty Farmer also had an assist.

Josh Lopina made it 2-0 with 29 seconds remaining after pouncing on a loose puck that squeaked out of a scrum near McKay. Trivigno and Felix added helpers on the play.

“It’s always competing, winning battles, playing with energy,” Carvel said.

Cal Kiefuk added a third UMass goal 42 seconds into the third, putting away a loose puck that freshman Lucas Mercuri slid behind McKay in the crease. That was Mercuri’s first career point. Farmer added another assist on the play.

“They were physical, I don't think we handled that well,” Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said. “I thought they wanted to defend more than we wanted to play offense, and they were rewarded for it.”

Nathan Smith gave the Mavericks hope 1:12 left in the second. He beat UMass goalie Matt Murray on a breakaway from David Silye and Akito Hirose that cut UMass’ lead to 3-1 entering the third.

Minnesota State then owned the third period, scoring five goals to turn the game on its head. Smith tied it at 3 4:28 into the frame form Cade Bordhardt and Jake McNeely.

“The second one was a backbreaker,” Carvel said. “They took off from there.”

The Mavericks scored three goals in under three minutes from Jake Livingstone’s go-ahead tally at 10:14 to Brendan Furry’s wheel around between the circles at 13:11 to put a bow on the night. Napravnik added a second between them.

“They believed in each other, and I think they were rewarded for that,” Hastings said of his team.

UMass hadn’t given up six goals since Jan. 11, 2020, against No. 4 Boston College at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen last lost consecutive games Jan. 17 and 18 against Boston University. It’s their first 0-2 start since 2014-15, the year before Carvel arrived in Amherst.

“That’s as sound as we’ve been beat since probably my first year here. They were all over us,” Carvel said.

The last defending national champion to start 0-2 was the 2005 Denver Pioneers, which dropped two games at No. 14 Maine.

“I spent all summer, all September worried about complacency, and now I think we can put that to bed. We got slapped really hard this weekend,” Carvel said. “I hope it puts us in a good mindset. We’re not just going to show up and beat anybody.”

UMass had to integrate 10 new players before this season. Seven of them are freshmen.

“I feel like our youth exposed us,” Carvel said. “In hindsight, I’m glad we played them.”

The Minutemen won’t play again until they face No. 20 AIC at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 in the MassMutual Center, the first leg of a home-and-home series. The Yellow Jackets, who have reached the last two NCAA Tournaments, played an exhibition against Boston College on Saturday and open their season Oct. 9 at home against Providence.

“We get two weeks to get to work and start building,” Carvel said. “Not a great job preparing by me for this weekend. I knew they (the Mavericks) were a very good team, but they're even better than I thought they would be.”

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

Jobs



Support Local Journalism


Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy