AMHERST, Mass. — You almost have to admire a breakdown such as this. Entering the third and final period of play, UMass-Amherst not only held a one-goal advantage over visiting Boston College, but it had a firm hold on the momentum as well.
The Minutemen tallied a pair of goals in the middle frame, while carrying the physical play for the whole 20 minutes. But a lackadaisical effort in the third all but handed the game to the Eagles, who with a six game losing streak gladly took the offering.
Ryan Shannon notched the game-winner at 1:12 of overtime off a feed from Dave Spina.
“It’s the worst thing that can happen in sports,” UMass captain Toni Soderholm said. “Losing a game in overtime when you’re oh so close.”
Spina, in a work of thievery, swiped the puck from Sami Jalkanen along the left boards, before straddling the goal line extended and feeding Shannon.
“He got bumped off the puck,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “He made a mistake and we didn’t recover.”
The Eagles took the game into overtime with a highlight reel goal from Ty Hennes, but it was 15 minutes prior, that the visiting squad really took control of the game.
“BC had a great third period and we didn’t respond to it,” Cahoon said. The visitors used their superior speed and an aggressive forecheck to fortify the puck in their offensive zone for the majority of the period. Despite the tilted ice, with under five minutes remaining and down 2-1, BC still needed someone to step up and make a play. Senior Ales Dolinar answered the call, as he fought through UMass defensemen Jalkanen and Randy Drohan before sliding a cross crease feed to Ty Hennes who dove to poke in the equalizer.
“I thought Ty and Ales made a big time play to get the tying goal,” BC coach Jerry York said.
Hennes’ tally capped 20 minutes of dominating play by the Eagles while locking the game up for an extra session.
As overbearing as BC’s third period effort was, UMass’ play in the middle frame was equally as dominating.
The Minutemen held a 13-10 shot advantage in the second, while getting goals from Greg Mauldin and Josh Hanson to take a one-goal advantage. After an Eagle power play had just concluded, defenseman Brett Peterson gift-wrapped a defensive zone turnover to UMass forward Mauldin. The freshman took three strides into the slot before lacing a top-shelf wrist shot to give the Minutemen a 2-1 lead at 10:28 of the second.
Just over a minute into the period UMass captain Toni Soderholm fluttered a soft wrist shot on BC tender Matti Kaltiainen. The freshman keeper severely mishandled the puck and ended up out of position as Soderholm slid his own rebound across to Josh Hanson who banged it in the yawning net.
Despite an even effort in the opening stanza, it was BC and their superior offensive talent that held a one-goal lead after one.
At about the midway point of the first period Spina took J.R. Zavisza’s neutral zone turnover and dashed down the left wing. Spina crossed the top of the circle before burning Mike Johnson’s glove hand for a one-goal lead.
Johnson made 32 saves in the loss while Kaltiainen stopped 25 shots in beating the Minutemen in overtime for the second time this season. UMass moves to 8-18-1, 3-13-1 Hockey East with the loss. The Eagles on the other hand snap a six game losing skid and move a game above .500 at 13-12-2, 6-10-1 HEA.