Minutemen come up short at Boston College, 2-1

For The Recorder
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

CHESTNUT HILL — Not long ago, a close game on the road against a traditional Hockey East power would have been something to build off of for the UMass hockey team.

But sitting at the podium Tuesday after his team’s 2-1 loss at Boston College, a team that scored 13 goals in two games vs. the Minutemen last year, Greg Carvel was irritated. These days he’s expecting more.

“As a coach I’m not real happy with my group tonight. We somehow made the game close, but we could have been a lot better,” Carvel said. “I thought in the first period we were fortunate to only come away down by a goal. That was easily our worst period of hockey this year. The problem with my team being as young as we are, and lacking leadership and veteran players, is we come into places like this with good hockey teams, is that we’re a little too respectful. We didn’t compete one ounce in the first period.”

Despite his frustration, BC only led 1-0 after the first period. Jesper Mattila laser-beamed a rising wrist shot through traffic that ticked off of screened goalie Matt Murray’s glove with 7:43 left in the frame.

John Leonard tied the game with his sixth goal of the season. The rebound of Brett Boeing’s odd-angle shot from below the left wing face-off circle skipped off Joseph Woll’s pads right to Leonard’s stick in front of the net. The freshman from Amherst chipped it over the goalie to make it 1-1 with 15:53 left in the second.

But after BC killed off a particularly ineffective UMass power play, the Eagles took advantage of a bad Minuteman turnover and Logan Hutsko chose to shoot rather than pass on the resulting odd-man rush and beat Murray to make it 2-1 with 5:12 left in the second.

Neither team scored in the third. Carvel lamented the missed opportunity.

“We adjusted and competed better the rest of the game. The second period was much better and allowed us to get back in the game,” Carvel said. “We don’t start the games the way we need to. The focus tonight was to have them ready to go. But we didn’t compete. We need to learn that lesson. They have to realize they can compete and they can win.”

UMass was without freshman defenseman Cale Makar, who missed the game with an upper-body injury. Eetu Torpstrom was added to the lineup in his absence. Carvel said it’s likely Makar will be back for Friday’s 7 p.m. game against Maine at the Mullins Center.

“It’s precautionary. He’s just kind of banged up. We have a lot of games in a short time. He and the staff felt it was better to get him to 100 percent so we have him for the rest of the way,” Carvel said. “We miss him a lot. He plays 25 to 28 minutes a night. He’s a big part of the power play. He’s a big part of our puck possession. He skates pucks out of trouble.”

BC (12-9-3, 12-4-0 Hockey East) moved into first place with the win. UMass stayed (11-12-1, 5-8-1) in a tie for eighth.

Murray made 27 saves for the Minutemen and solidified his hold on the team’s No. 1 goalie job.

“He really held the fort down until we could get our feet under us,” Carvel said.