Buckeyes top UMass, 3-1

For The Recorder
Friday, October 20, 2017

AMHERST — Ohio State arrived in Amherst with no goals on 20 power-play chances. But the Buckeyes found the range Friday as their two extra-man goals provided the difference as UMass fell, 3-1, at the Mullins Center.

“We lost that game the way a young team loses that game,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “I liked our game 5-on-5. They’re a good skill team and executed very well.”

The teams play again tonight at 8.

“We got a few more bounces and felt very fortunate to get the win,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said.

Ohio State took a 2-1 lead on a 5-on-3 power play with 8:43 left in the second. UMass goalie Matt Murray made the initial save on Matthew Weis’ shot from the point, but the rebound caromed to the goalie’s left where Mason Jobst was crashing the net. The junior forward’s shot got to the open side of the net faster than Murray did.

“When you get an extended 5-on-3 like that, those are really hard to kill off,” Carvel said. “That was a huge game-changing moment.”

John Leonard had chances on two mini breakaways late in the period, but Sean Romeo held him off.

“Those two breakaways, and on four or five others, Sean made some huge stops,” Rohlik said.

Jobst stretched the visitors’ edge to 3-1, 4:07 into the third, again beating Murray on the power play.

Cale Makar earned UMass a power play with 6 minutes left, getting hauled down on an end-to-end rush, but the Minutemen couldn’t capitalize. UMass finished 0-for-5 on the power play.

Murray, who drew his first Friday-night start after playing the first two Saturdays, made 21 saves for the Minutemen (3-2-0).

“We thought through those first four games and his numbers were much better (than sophomore Ryan Wischow). He was 2-0 and we really wanted to win this game tonight. We thought he’d earned the start,” Carvel said. “He didn’t have to do a lot tonight. Those goals were not his fault.”

Carvel said he hadn’t decided who’d play Saturday. Romeo stopped 24 shots for Ohio State (2-1-2).

“Ultimately their goaltender was really good,” Carvel said. “I thought he saw the puck even when it was bouncing around in front of him. Their power play and their goalie were the biggest factors in the game.”

UMass jumped on the board first when George Mika grabbed a loose puck and fed Niko Hildenbrand off the right wing post behind the Ohio State defense which had started breaking out.

Hildenbrand slid the puck from his forehand to his backhand and tucked it under Romeo to make it 1-0, one second past the midway point of the opening period.

The Buckeyes tied the game with 4:28 left in the first when Matt Miller beat Murray off the face off as the teams headed to intermission tied.

“We’re learning so much about this group. ... We’ll take a lot out of this game. We played a good hockey team. We allowed them to beat us,” Carvel said.