AMHERST, Mass. - Two goals and an assist from senior Pat Mullane helped Boston College overcome a 3-0 deficit after two periods and come away with a, 5-4, comeback win in overtime over Massachusetts Friday night at the Mullins Center. Johnny Gaudreau scored the game-winner three minutes, 32 seconds into overtime to complete the comeback. Mullane scored twice in the third period, including the game-tying goal at the 17:54 mark, and assisted on Gaudreau’s game-winner.
Parkner Milner stopped 20 shots for BC while UMass sophomore Steve Mastalerz made 37 saves in a losing effort in his season debut. The Eagles outshot the Minutemen 42-24 on the night and 16-5 in the third period alone, four of those shots found the back of the net.
What I saw
The Eagles finally got back to that championship form after going down 3-0 late in the second period. BC started to control the puck on the offensive end and it became clear that UMass was tiring defensively playing with only five defensemen after Joel Hanley, who is a fixture on the Minutemen special teams play, received a game misconduct only one minute, 35 seconds into the game for hitting from behind. The Eagles responded well by constantly attacking and making life difficult on Mastalerz, who was forced to make some solid glove saves to keep the shutout in tow after two periods. As BC pushed the attack in the third period, UMass appeared to get complacent and spent a majority of the period skating backwards, resulting in such a discrepancy in shots in the third.
The Minutemen looked like a much faster team than the Eagles were for a majority of the first two periods, winning the race for the puck and playing more physical than BC. One thing UMass showed throughout the game was the ability to block shots, which was key in killing the five-minute major on Hanley’s game misconduct. The team spoke during the week of the importance of getting pressure and creating traffic in front of the net in order to beat Parker Milner, and that’s exactly what they did throughout the first two periods. As a result the Minutemen found the net on their second-chance opportunities, including Rocco Carzo’s first of two goals coming off a rebound on the backhand and his second coming off a loose puck after Steven Guzzo’s shot attempt was deflected.
The way the game ended was clear confirmation that BC was simply more talented and more accustomed to winning than the Minutemen. The Eagles refused to show any sign of slowing down despite such a large deficit in the game, and came out and attacked right away in the third period, only needing one minute, 11 seconds to get on the board in the frame. After cutting the lead to 3-2 on a goal by Destry Straight, UMass responded immediately with a goal from Darren Rowe to put the Minutemen up 4-2 at the 9:35 mark. But yet again, BC went to work and continued to attack a wearing UMass defense that once again started to get complacent.
What I thought
Mullane showed everyone why he is the captain of this team, leading the charge back in the third period and overtime. The Eagles fed off the energy he brought to that top line featuring him, Gaudreau and Steven Whitney, who proved to be the difference after accounting for the final three goals in the game. Although it took BC’s top group until the 16:44 mark to get on the board, they were the premier aggressors throughout that game-changing third period and it only made sense for them to be the difference in the game.
Both teams took a step in the right direction Friday. After a poor outing against Northeastern at Matthews Arena last Saturday in their season opener, the Eagles were once again off to a slow start through a period and a half, but finally started playing on that championship level that carried them to the national championship last season. Each of the first two lines contributed to that attack. After going 0-2 in Amherst last season, outscoring the Minutemen 5-1 in the final 23-plus minutes is certainly a relief. UMass also has to feel pretty good about the way it skated with BC throughout the night. The Minutemen certainly were the better team in the first two periods, the scoreboard says it clearly, but that inability to match the Eagles’ talent-level and being a man down defensively caught up to them in the end.
UMass still has a long way to go to become a contender in Hockey East. The team certainly looks like its buying into the way Micheletto wants them to play, which is a fast and physical style, but with no consistency between the pipes with Mastalerz and fellow sophomore Kevin Boyle both trying to earn a No. 1 role and only four seniors on the roster, this may be something that can’t change overnight. Carzo said after the game that the team started to get comfortable and that some guys believed the game was sealed well before the final horn went off. With losing seasons in four of the past five years, I think the team simply showed that it is not used to being a consistent winner, which is something that will need to be built over time.
What they said
“It was a game of almost two halves I thought where UMass certainly had the better of the first half of the game. They made some really good plays on the puck on us and had that 3-0 lead. I though we started to get back into the game and had an excellent third period. … It showed a lot of resolve from us and I feel good about our team character to hang in there and still not get discouraged about the scoreboard.
“We started to play BC hockey. We were more thorough, we were skating better and just playing with more of a purpose.”
-BC coach Jerry York
“Heck of a hockey game, excited to get into league play. It’s always good to challenge ourselves against one of the better teams in our conference. I was real proud of the way our guys got after it tonight.
“It would’ve been nice to get out of the first two minutes of the third period and been able to push the momentum a bit and the tempo of the game. I think that (first BC goal) prevented us from being on our toes and put us on our heels a bit. In the early stages of where we are it’s an important lesson for our guys moving forward. The way we’re going to play will be more like you saw in the first 40 than the last 20.”
-UMass coach John Micheletto
What else you should know
The Eagles return to Conte Forum Saturday night for a rematch against Northeastern for its home-opener at 7 p.m.
The Minutemen return to the ice Friday night at Agganis Arena for the first of a home-and-home next weekend with Boston University at 7:30 p.m.
Pat Mullane notched his 100th career point with the assist on Gaudreau’s game-winning goal in overtime to cap off a three-point night.
Rocco Carzo’s two goals marked the first multi-point night of the senior’s collegiate career.