AMHERST, Mass. - An early 2-0 cushion propelled No. 7/8 University of Massachusetts hockey to a 4-1 victory over No. 20 Northeastern (9-9-3) in the Hockey East Quarterfinals on Sunday evening at the Mullins Center. With the win, the Minutemen advance to the Hockey East Semifinal round and will host Providence on Wednesday.
"I thought the kids did a great job today," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "We wanted to play a real strong defensive game. We wanted to be disciplined and stay out of the penalty box and the refs made that a 5-on-5 game today, which I think plays to our favor. Northeastern's got a very good power play and we wanted to limit their opportunities there. We wanted to check well and I thought the kids did a really good job of that today. I thought we really kept the game on the outside of the ice, I thought we transitioned pretty well and got a big goal early that kind of set the tone. I thought our kids played a really good 60 minutes, good playoff style hockey."
Junior Garret Wait opened the scoring just 2:54 into the contest, streaking to the net and redirecting a pass from classmate Bobby Trivigno from below the goal line for his eighth tally of the season. Freshman Josh Lopina earned an assist on the play, as well.
Zac Jones then increased the margin to 2-0 at the 8:27 mark, blasting a one-timer home from the slot on the rush off a dish from Trivigno and sophomore Matthew Kessel.
The Huskies halved their deficit 10:37 into the second period when Jayden Struble collected the puck along the half wall and sent a pass to Jeremie Bucheler who sent a wrister past netminder Filip Lindberg to trim UMass' lead to 2-1.
Before the intermission, Trivigno gave the Minutemen back their two-goal cushion, beating Connor Murphy on a 2-on-1 at 18:08 after junior Colin Felix started the break with his outlet pass.
Senior Philip Lagunov gave UMass more insurance 4:16 into the third, putting back a rebound from sophomore Jerry Harding.
UMass finished the contest with a 28-26 edge in shots and did not have a power play, while going a perfect 1-for-1 on the penalty kill.
Lindberg made 25 stops en route to the victory (5-1-4) for the Minutemen, while Murphy turned aside 24 shots for the Huskies.