AMHERST, Mass. — In a 6-0 loss to Boston College, the Massachusetts Minutemen started this season off right where they finished last year — with bad penalties, poor special teams and a lack of finishing ability. The Eagles on the other hand, coming off a mediocre 18-18-2 campaign, clearly made inroads in the offseason as they coasted in the season and Hockey East opener.
“It was a good solid game for us this evening,” Eagle coach Jerry York
The line of freshman Patrick Eaves and juniors Tony Voce and Ben Eaves led the offense, as they combined for three goals and seven points.
“That’s probably one of the best lines in college hockey,” BC goalie Tim Kelleher said. “I put them in at least the top three.”
The game winner came just 5:47 into the first period with a power-play goal from the younger Eaves. Just as UMass defenseman Matt Fetzer left the penalty box to cut the man deficit to one, J.D. Forrest fed Eaves on the doorstep for a short-side tally on Tim Warner.
Warner, who made only 14 saves while allowing five goals, was pulled after the second period in favor of freshman Gabe Winer.
The freshman Eaves got on the board again a little over 10 minutes later with an even strength score. Ben Eaves cycled through the left wing boards before feeding Voce in the slot for a one timer. Warner made the initial save but Patrick Eaves controlled the rebound and wrapped it in off the far post.
Despite the Eagles’ 2-0 lead at the first intermission, it was UMass that carried the play for most of the period. But Kelleher was there to stifle the Minuteman offense.
With the game still knotted at 0-0, Kelleher stoned senior Tim Turner on a rebound chance. Later in the period, with his team leading 1-0, Kelleher stoned Matt Anderson on a partial breakaway and Greg Mauldin on a wrist shot from the slot.
Kelleher finished with 20 saves and his first shutout of the season.
“From my point of view it wasn’t that tough a game for me,” Kelleher said. “They only had I think one or two rebound chances. The defense did a really good job of clearing those guys out.”
BC turned the tilt in its favor in the second period with three more goals from Voce, Dave Spina and freshman Chris Collins to all but seal the deal. The Eagles out shot UMass in the middle period, 9-6.
“You can’t play one period in this league,” UMass’ Turner said. “We played pretty well in the first but we weren’t even close in the second.”
Anthony D’Arpino score in the third on the power play to ice the contest at 6-0.
York got goals from all four of his lines and points from 10 players on the evening.
“We’re using more players this year,” he said. “We can roll four pretty good units out there.”
He was especially pleased with his special teams, which accounted for three goals while killing off UMass’ four power-play chances.
“The special teams were very sharp,” York said. “They played a big part in the outcome of the game.”
“The game was all about power plays,” Cahoon agreed. “They got their opportunities and when we got ours we looked inept.”
Patrick Eaves earned first star honors in his first career game with his two goals.
UMass freshman goalie Winer was solid in 20 minutes of play stopping eight of the nine Eagle shots he faced.
Boston College is in action again on Friday night in its home opener against Denver. UMass returns to home ice in a week to take on ECAC opponent Rensselaer.