AMHERST, Mass. - No. 9 University of Massachusetts hockey rode a 4-0 start to its sixth straight victory, defeating No. 10/13 Northeastern 5-3 at the Mullins Center on Saturday night. With the win, the Minutemen move to 8-3-1, while the Huskies level their record at 3-3-2. The six-game winning streak matches the third longest winning streak in program history.
"Obviously that's a big weekend for us to sweep Northeastern," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "To win three games in a week, three games in four nights and I thought we did a good job of managing the guys' energy. Playing four lines, I never felt like our guys showed fatigue, so that was a good job by the whole group. We're scoring goals, we're scoring more than I expected this year, but we've got a bad issue of letting up goals in the third period when we have leads, so that's something that we need to attend to. I thought our special teams were strong this weekend. I'm not happy with the number of penalties we're taking, but if we can take care of that, I think that makes us a really tough team to beat."
Sophomore Jerry Harding began the scoring just 2:33 into the contest as Anthony Del Gaizo and Philip Lagunov found Harding alone in the slot for his first collegiate goal.
Then, with the teams skating 4-on-4, sophomore Matthew Kessel drew a penalty shot at the 5:35 mark and converted for his sixth goal of the season and fifth tally in the past six games.
Sophomore Zac Jones then expanded the lead to 3-0 before the intermission, dancing across the blueline and a puck towards the net that found its way through traffic at the 17:26 mark. Kessel and freshman Josh Lopina earned the assists on the play.
Redshirt senior Carson Gicewicz brought the score to 4-0 at the start of the second, redirecting in his eighth of the season and seventh in the past five games from senior Jake Gaudet and Garrett Wait, 1:46 into the period.
Northeastern took one of the goals back moments later. Zach Solow connected with a feed from Aidan McDonough and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine for a one-timer on the power play at 3:32.
McDonough later notched the Huskies' second power-play goal of the night 3:17 into the third period, set up by Grant Jozefek and Jayden Struble to trim their deficit to 4-2.
Northeastern went on to make it a one-goal game with just over five minutes to play in the third with Dylan Jackson knocking the puck in from the top of the crease off a feed from Jozefek and Kesselring behind the UMass net.
Wait later sealed the victory with an empty net goal from Lopina and junior Bobby Trivigno, his fourth tally of the season, which came in the final minute of play.
UMass out-shot Northeastern 37-19 on the night. The Huskies were 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Minutemen were 0-for-3. Massachusetts once again dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 32 of 57 (56.1%) draws, led by Lopina's 13 for 19 (68.4%) effort.
Matt Murray made 16 saves en route to his 50th career win, matching Gabe Winer's program record for career victories by a goaltender. Huskies' netminder Connor Murphy totaled 32 stops in the contest.
Kessel and Wait each contributed a goal and an assist apiece and Lopina had two helpers for his second straight multi point game. Trivigno's assist extended his current point scoring streak to six straight games.