AMHERST, Mass. — UMass coach Don Cahoon has been talking about it all year. After two shutout losses to Maine and New Hampshire he assured those in attendance at the press conference that the big win over a top four Hockey East team didn’t happen that night, but it was going to happen sooner rather than later.
He reiterated that statement near the conclusion of his weekly radio show, saying that it may not come Friday against perennial power Boston University, but nonetheless, it was coming.
Six minutes into the second period of the aforementioned match-up, with BU leading 4-1, nobody of the 3891 at the Mullins Center thought that the win had any chance of showing up.
“UMass rammed us right through,” BU coach Jack Parker said after the Minutemen stormed back with four unanswered goals, including Chris Capraro’s game winner in overtime.
Capraro, a Medford, Mass. native, stripped rookie defenseman Jekabs Redlihs at his own blueline and beat Sean Fields five-hole on a breakaway for the win.
“By far the biggest goal I’ve ever scored,” Capraro said after. “There’s no feeling like it.”
The goal came with just 41 seconds remaining in the extra frame, after the Terriers dominated most of the OT, outshooting UMass 4-1. But that was the limit of BU’s supremacy on the evening.
“They dominated the game,” Parker said. “I told Don after it would have been a shame for them not to win.”
UMass held a 30-20 shot advantage in the contest and Parker commented that, “[UMass] outchanced us 2-to-1.”
The Minutemen were ripe for a collapse after severely outplaying Parker’s squad for most of the game and finding themselves down three goals.
“Don’t play the scoreboard,” sophomore Greg Mauldin remarked after. And for that reason, the Minutemen were able to fight back. Mauldin had a hand in three consecutive goals that brought them back level.
With under ten minutes left to play in the middle frame the Holliston, Mass. native started the rush that ended in Mike Warner’s roof job. That cut the deficit to two.
In the third period, after BU killed off a Gregg Johnson roughing penalty, the Terriers spotted UMass another pair of advantages.
“We started with the stuff we’ve been doing all year,” Parker said with frustration. “We took two unbelievably stupid penalties in the third period.”
The first was Justin Maiser’s interference call that led to UMass’ third goal of the game. Mauldin took a cross-ice feed from senior captain Kelly Sickavish and one-timed it up over Fields’ left shoulder.
Just over two minutes later Freddy Meyer’s holding penalty led to the equalizer. This time Mauldin shared the wealth, feeding freshman Marvin Degon for a slapshot off the post and in.
“I can’t really describe the emotion,” Degon said. “I was in the right place at the right time and I got a beautiful pass from my roommate [Mauldin.]”
UMass’ rousing comeback followed an opportunistic streak by BU’s blueliners. Four defensemen scored to give the Terriers a 4-2 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Freshman Dan Span opened the scoring at 5:40 of the first off a cross-ice feed from Johnson. Redlihs followed five minutes later with a laser from the point that deflected past Gabe Winer (16 saves).
Following a Peter Trovato goal, Mike Bussoli led BU into the first intermission up 3-1. Freddy Meyer then ended the Terriers scoring for the evening off a one-timer on the power play at 5:40 of the second.
But BU’s collapse offered more frustration for veteran coach Jack Parker.
“It’s back to the drawing board for Jack Parker and his BU Terriers,” Parker said. “We’re not even close to a hockey team right now. There’s no comparison between us [and UMass] in the effort and the skill. They played hard and they played smart. We got beat by a much better team.”