BOSTON — Massachusetts came into Saturday night’s game against Boston College riding a 3-2 win against Northeastern, whereas Minutemen coach John Micheletto did not like the “process” his team went about en route to the win.
On Saturday, Micheletto liked what he saw much more, despite dropping the game 4-1 behind two 5-on-3 goals for the Eagles.
“It’s amazing how that works sometimes,” Micheletto said. “All in all, I was happy with our guys’ performance. Obviously I don’t like taking a loss, but I liked our compete. I liked the way our team stuck together tonight.”
Freshman Henry Dill got his third career start in net for the Minutemen (2-3-0, 1-2-0 Hockey East), matched up against BC’s staple in net, Thatcher Demko.
A back-and-forth physical first period, which only had nine total shots between the teams, ended scoreless. The best opportunity of the period came for the Eagles when Michael Matheson rung the post, beating Dill, but could not find its way into the back of the net.
“I thought tonight we were excited about last night’s win,” said Eagles’ coach Jerry York. “But we were focused, and we had to be.”
The Minutemen had a bit of a scary moment later in the period when captain Troy Power took a slap shot to the face while killing off a Oleg Yevenko slashing penalty. Power returned to the game shortly after.
Massachusetts got the first good scoring opportunity in the second when Keith Burchett found the puck on his stick at center ice, and had a breakaway heading down into his offensive zone. Burchett put a shot on Demko, who blocked it with his shoulder to keep the game tied.
The physicality picked up shortly after that with the teams combining for two matching penalties in under a minute.
“We were physical when we needed to be,” said York. “UMass was physical when they needed to be. The game was played at a real high pace. It was quick, it was a fast game.”
The Eagles were finally able to find the back of the net at the 5:45 mark in the period when Alex Tuch scored on a two-on-one, assisted by Adam Gilmour.
“I thought the pass by Gilmore to send Tuch into the two-on-one was really a heads-up, excellent hockey play,” said York.
Gilmour got one of his own 2:40 later. With the Eagles working on the power play, Noah Hanifin gave his linemate a cross-ice pass that Gilmour was able to shoot in the open net to give Boston College (3-1-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East) a two-goal lead heading into the third.
UMass started to get frustrated midway through the period, taking two penalties in a matter of seconds, which set up Gilmour’s second goal of the night to give Boston College a commanding 3-0 lead.
Massachusetts cut the deficit to two with just over two minutes remaining in the game when Shane Walsh took a Dennis Kravchenko pass and shot it over the outstretched glove of Demko.
Unfortunately for the Minutemen, it was too little, too late.
Boston College added an empty-net goal with 33.7 seconds remaining in the game by Quinn Smith to seal the 4-1 victory, and pick up their third consecutive victory.
“Sometimes back-to-back games in a weekend against different opponents, you never quite know what you’re gonna get from your club,” York said. “We stayed comfortable in the game.
“We just kept playing hockey.”