November 15, 2013

NEHJ College Roundup: BC mounts comeback over UMass

By Joshua Kummins

Mike Matheson and the Eagles improved to 4-0-0 in Hockey East play with their win over UMass Thursday night. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

AMHERST, Mass. -- After running over Army by an 11-0 score on Sunday in Chestnut Hill, the No. 8 Boston College Eagles (7-2-1, 4-0-0 Hockey East) fell behind early on Thursday night, but successfully completed an uphill climb to down their in-state rival UMass Minutemen (3-7-1, 1-4-1), 2-1, at the Mullins Center.

The victory helped the Eagles remain unbeaten in Hockey East league play as the two-game series shifts to Kelley Rink for a Friday night contest. BC has now won five of its last six meetings with the Minutemen.

Things started much differently than expected as the Minutemen jumped ahead at 18:12 of the first period as senior Branden Gracel scored his fourth of the season with an assist from second-year Shane Walsh (West Roxbury, Mass.).

UMass entered the first intermission with a 1-0 lead and all the momentum, but junior Johnny Gaudreau changed things quickly as he does so well.

At 9:25 of the middle stanza, the Jersey native and Calgary prospect beat Minuteman rookie netminder Mac Haight right beside the crease for his tenth goal in as many games to open the season. The contest was the walk-on Haight's first start as a collegian and he finished with a solid 31 stops. 14 of the Washington native's stops came in the second period, despite allowing both goals to the Eagles.

The Eagles jumped ahead with a man-up goal at 13:42 of the second as senior Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) cashed in on a wicked carom off a point shot from Danny Linell.

Just 3:48 into the final period, it looked like the Minutemen tied the game at 2-2 when junior Troy

Power poked a backhander by BC junior Brian Billett (Brunswick, Maine), who finished with 28 stops in the contest, including 11 in the final period. After a lengthy review, the goal was disallowed due to a UMass player being ruled offsides.

The Minutemen could not find the back of the net on a late power play and the Eagles held on for their fifth victory in as many games during the month of November.

UMass Lowell 4, Penn State 0

The River Hawks (7-4-0, 2-1-0 Hockey East) became the second HEA squad to defeat the Nittany Lions (3-4-1, 0-0-0 B1G) this year, taking the first half of a two-game weekend series at Pegula Ice Arena in University Park. Sophomore Adam Chapie scored just 1:51 into the first period and Lowell never looked back as Connor Hellebuyck made 37 saves for his first shutout of the season. Senior Derek Arnold (Foxboro, Mass.) scored the River Hawks' final two goals of the night, helping the team bounce back from a Saturday night home loss to No. 18 Northeastern.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins