Chestnut Hill, Mass. – UMass got off to a quick start against Boston College but couldn’t hold onto the lead. Conor Sheary scored 2:54 into the game but the Eagles would respond a mere 1:31 later on a goal by Pat Mullane. BC would score again about four minutes later to take a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.
UMass again carried play for long stretches of the game in game two, as they did in game one. They would eventually tie the game late in the second period on a powerplay goal by Joel Hanley. This goal was followed up by another crucial Boston College goal one minute later off the stick of Brian Dumoulin to make the game 3-2. This score would hold to the end of the game and the Eagles proceeded to sweep the Minutemen.
Massachusetts’ season came to an end on the night at a disappointing 13-18-5, which saw them come up with many big victories against big name programs most notably this same Boston College team twice early in the season and Boston University. Boston College advanced to the Hockey East semifinals for the eighth straight season. Their record improves to 27-10-1 on the season and the win gives them a stranglehold on their number one Pairwise ranking, which even with a loss might be all but locked up.
What I saw
-UMass was able to control play again on Saturday night but again were unable to finish the many opportunities that they had. In all honesty, this series could still be going as UMass, had their opportunities to make a series of it. It seemed as though every time they were given anything they were unable to capitalize.
-Boston College had not trailed in a game since January 27th until tonight. When Conor Sheary scored just three minutes in the game it broke a streak of nearly 680 minutes of Boston College domination of Hockey East teams. This streak cannot amiss as it is significant but the response to it by the Eagles was nothing short of phenomenal as well, given the fact that they haven’t played from behind in so long. Parker Milner was a rock all weekend and his play has lifted the Eagles into territory that is not often seen in Hockey East, and that is in some ways domination.
What I thought
-UMass, despite in most cases being the better team, could not solve Parker Milner. Milner had a phenomenal weekend giving up only three goals. Some of the saves that he made were not easy saves to be made but Milner made them look as such. One save a breakaway save on TJ Syner stands out, as he came in all alone but was unable to get it through Milner. It was opportunities such as these that UMass needed to bury this weekend but were unable to do so.
-UMass had a great series defensively and on Saturday they gave up just 22 shots. It seemed at times that UMass was able to get BC out of its game. Boston College is the king in hockey east when it comes to finishing their opportunities and tonight they proved why they are so lethal even with few opportunities.
-Boston College’s third line was again all over the ice. Johnny Gaudreau, Pat Mullane and Paul Carey were on the ice for all but one Boston College goal over the weekend. This line has molded itself into a lethal line for the Eagles and is a matchup nightmare for any team. This line could be a top line at some schools in the country but at BC it’s the third line. UMass had no answer for it on the weekend and most teams going forward will not either.
What they said
UMass coach Don Cahoon, was interviewed briefly after the game and was visibly frustrated with the outcome of the game. He felt as though there were two non-calls in the series that preceded the third, game-winning BC goal. Cahoon said, “I have never been so frustrated in my life and I have 28 kids in that locker room that are devastated and don’t feel like they lost this series.” Cahoon would continue on for a minute about the two specific lack of calls that he felt his team had been robbed by. His remarks were short but certainly got the attention of the large group of reporters that were gathered around him.
Boston College Coach Jerry York said, “Historically we have made some long runs in the playoffs but the quarterfinal series is always extremely difficult as you are playing a team that you are very familiar with. These series are battles and we always feel fortunate to advance. We played a lot better tonight and Parker played well both nights.”
BC defenseman Brian Dumoulin said, “Parker Milner has been huge for us. He has huge for our confidence knowing that we have a rock behind us. Sometimes it will be a scoring battle and other times a goalie battle. It is good knowing we have Parker back there.
What they didn’t say
Jerry York was asked the question of what he saw on the third BC goal, which was in question by Toot Cahoon above but played the usual diplomatic Jerry York. All he wanted to talk about was the goal and the fact that his team had advanced to the Hockey East semifinals. In the end this was the end result and there is no changing that. Does Cahoon have an argument? He may very well have one or two but the referees call the game as they see it and this was the case on Saturday night.
What else you should know
Boston College will play next Friday night at the TD Garden with matchup and time yet to be announced. BC will get the lowest seed that advances, as Hockey East reseeds teams going into the final four weekend. If Boston College plays with the depth and finishing touches that they showed this weekend they will be tough to beat next weekend, in a building that they have played many times before.
UMass’ season comes to an abrupt end and Coach Cahoon was visibly frustrated with the results this season. They are an extremely young team and will have many better years to come. It was a trying season in Amherst, one that saw the Minutemen pull off many big upsets s. They proved this weekend they could compete with a team like Boston College, but they may just be a year away experience-wise to pull out the win.