UMass earned a statement victory in the closing stretch of the Hockey East season.
Junior defenseman Marc Del Gaizo scored on a breakaway with 3:01 to play in overtime to lift the Minutemen to a 3-2 victory over No. 1 Boston College on Friday night at Kelley Rink. The tally was Del Gaizo’s first of the season.
The No. 9 Minutemen improved to 13-5-3 and ended a four-game losing streak to the Eagles. BC fell to 15-4-1 and its six-week stay at the top of the USCHO polls is likely over.
“This group is gaining a lot of confidence and we came in tonight excited to play,” said UMass coach Greg Carvel. “In the outside world it will be a pretty big result but for our group, I don’t feel like we stole a game. I feel like we won a game.”
BC goaltender Spencer Knight made 36 saves while UMass goalie Filip Lindberg had 29 stops in his fourth win of the season. BC maintained its hold on first place while UMass slipped past Boston University into second. There is a strong possibility these two teams will meet again in the Hockey East tournament that begins on March 10.
“Home ice is such a huge advantage and if you can get in for that one extra game it means a lot,” said Carvel. “It will be pretty interesting to see who plays who.”
UMass tied the game 2-2 on a scramble in front of the BC cage at 14:11 of the third. The Minutemen’s first line collaborated on the effort that sniper Carson Gicewicz finished with his 12th of the season. Oliver Chau fed Jake Gaudet, who fired the puck at the BC cage. Gicewicz got his backhand blade on the disc and swatted it off a BC defender past Knight.
“I thought our second period was better,” said Carvel
BC scored first at 7:28 of the second. The Eagles’ Alex Newhook made amends for a bad penalty with a nifty play upon his release from the box. Newhook gained control at the blue line, cut toward the slot and fired a wrist shot that Lindberg stopped but failed to clear. Mike Hardman poked the rebound across the crease to Matt Boldy, who flicked home his ninth of the season.
Boldy’s tally had a chain reaction effect on the scoreboard. BC freshman left wing Nikita Nesterenko made a saucer pass through the slot to Jack McBain, who one-timed it past Lindberg from the right circle for his sixth of the season at 15:27.
UMass retaliated off the ensuing faceoff and made it 2-1 five seconds later. Garrett Wait carried center Josh Lopina’s draw into the BC zone and fed Bobby Trivigno, who wristed the puck past Knight at 15:32 for his eighth of the season.