Mistakes cost UMass hockey in overtime loss at BU

  • Bobby Trivigno and the UMass hockey team couldn't hold a two-goal lead in the third period and fell to Boston University 4-3 in overtime Monday at Walter Brown Arena. MATT WOOLVERTON / BU ATHLETICS

  • Philip Lagunov (17) and the UMass hockey team controlled the second period against BU on Monday at Walter Brown Arena, but the Terriers won 4-3 in overtime. MATT WOOLVERTON / BU ATHLETICS—

Staff Writer
Published: 1/18/2021 7:25:10 PM

Aggressiveness enabled the UMass hockey team to take a two-goal lead over Boston University in the third period.

It also cost the Minutemen in what ultimately turned into a 4-3 overtime loss at Walter Brown Arena on Monday.

No. 8 UMass (9-5-1) built its advantage in the second period by pounding the Terriers on the forecheck, keeping the puck in the offensive zone with regular, timely hits until BU’s defense cracked.

“I didn’t think we started the game playing physical, and halfway through the second we decided to play that way,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said.

Carson Gicewicz broke a 1-1 tie 4 minutes, 31 seconds into the second period, finishing a rebound from Oliver Chau and Zac Jones. Then Jake Gaudet made it 3-1 a little over 10 minutes later from Chau and Colin Felix.

“We need (Gaudet) to score more. I think that was his second of the year, we’ve played 14 games,” Carvel said. “He’s a first line center, needs to chip in more.”

Both goals came with masses of Minutemen surrounding BU goalie Drew Commesso in the crease. It was the only way UMass could score. If Commesso, who finished with 44 saves, saw a shot cleanly, he snatched out of the air with his glove.

“We scored our goals when we were around the net. That’s how you gotta score most of your goals at this level against a real good goaltender,” Carvel said. “It was part of our game plan to get to the front of the net. Through the second period we were doing a real good job.”

That aggressiveness eventually spilled outside the laws of the game to start the third. Gaudet put his shoulder high on Logan Cockerill in open ice, and the UMass captain was sent to the penalty box for a five-minute major for contacting the head.

“That’s a place where we don’t need a guy to be physical. You’re physical along the walls. We do ask our guys to play hard and finish their hits. When we’re doing that, it makes us effective,” Carvel said. “You’ve got to know where the line is.”

BU (3-1) capitalized quickly. Domenick Fensore ripped a wrist shot from the left side for a goal that made it 3-2 after finding open ice to approach from the blue line just 15 seconds into the major penalty.

“That five minute major by your captain is tough to take on the road,” Carvel said. “Against a team that has a good power play, you lose your momentum. Especially when they score 20 seconds into that power play.”

Matthew Kessel put UMass back on even footing when he swiped a pass then tore through BU’s defense on a breakaway, drawing a slashing penalty to even the ice. No one capitalized during the two minutes of 4 on 4, and the Minutemen killed the major’s final 15 minutes.

But UMass wasn’t clear yet. The Minutemen tried to break out of the zone shortly after pulling to even strength, and Luke Tuch stole a Ty Farmer pass up the right boards. He found Wilmer Skoog free in the center of the ice for a one-timer that blew by Matt Murray’s glove side and tied the game.

“We had a lot of guys playing really well,” Carvel said. “A couple mistakes cost us the game.”

Two minutes into the 3-on-3 overtime period, a UMass player fell trying to get off the bench and was stuck. That opened space in the Minutemen’s defensive zone for David Farrance, a 2020 Hobey Baker Award finalist, on the breakaway. Nick Zabaneh slid him a perfect pass from BU’s zone, and Farrance beat Murray through his legs with a backhanded shot for the game winner.

“I’m still not sure how they got that guy alone for the breakaway in overtime, but that’s a major mistake by us,” Carvel said. “We let their best player get a breakaway, and that’s that.”

That’s two losses in a row for UMass following a seven-game winning streak. The Minutemen committed 13 penalties across the series and allowed two power play goals, both at back-breaking moments.

“When we made mistakes, just like (Sunday) night, BU will make you pay. If you make mistakes, that’s what they’re capable of doing,” Carvel said. “They did it all weekend. That’s why the results came out the way they did.”

The Terriers opened the scoring 5:03 into the game thanks to Dylan Peterson. UMass’ Cal Kiefiuk tied it eight minutes later on a redirection from Eric Faith.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.

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