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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Men’s hockey runs wild with two wins over Johnson and Wales


Image from the most recent home game at Clark Athletic Center. Image courtesy of Beacon Athletics. 

UMass Boston’s men’s hockey team did the unthinkable when they defeated Johnson and Wales—who stood at an intimidating 2–18–1—on back-to-back nights (1). The wins created a well needed morale boost for the Beacons, who admirably carried on with their wayward season after dropping three straight contests prior to their eventful weekend against the Wildcats. Although it may have seemed that defeating Johnson and Wales was no tall task, the Beacons needed to take advantage of the opportunity at hand, which was to kickstart the offense back to its glory days of a few weeks ago. Men’s hockey was able to stick to their game plan and ran wild against Johnson and Wales, having a rockin’ 5–1 win at home on Feb. 3, while following up their performance with a 6–3 victory in Attleboro the next day (2).
One could argue that the Beacons’ weekend only made their record look a little more respectable, rather than their on-ice performance, due to the Wildcats’ lack of skill. Though it seems like the Wildcats’ one-off hibernation this winter is not the main reason for the Beacons’ successful two game stretch, especially after looking at the stat sheet from each game. The eye popping statistics is all you need to see to realize the Beacons manhandled Johnson and Wales and deserved the wins; they outshot them 60–17 and 23–3 in the first period alone in their 5–1 win. They also won twice as many face-offs, beating the Wildcats 35–17 in the category (1).
The highlight reel in the Beacons’ 5–1 home win saw some familiar faces and key contributors get on the board. Senior defenceman [RH1] Ryan Rowland teed off and fired a slapshot past Wildcats’ goalie Jacob Perrin in the first period to give the Beacons a 1–0 lead early. Later on in the first, senior defender Davis Browning would net his first-ever collegiate goal with some puck luck after he fired a shot on net from behind the right circle. The puck would deflect off a Wildcats defender before making its way to the back of the net to extend the Beacons lead to two (3).
In the second, junior forward Jacob Banks fed a pass off the boards to senior forward Andy Walker, who sniped a one timer past the right side of Perrin for his second goal of the year, and the Beacons looked like they were running away with a win despite having a full period to go. The team would tack on two more goals within the last three minutes of the third period. Junior forward Owen Bourdow would score his second goal of the year off a nice backhand-forehand move that beat Perrin during a breakaway chance. To cap off the night, sophomore forward Koyle Bankauskas buried an empty netter for his third goal of the season, burying the Wildcats for good, despite them scoring a goal late in the game on a powerplay (3).
While the Beacons came out of Barry Ice Rink with an impressive win, their struggles on the penalty kill were still as prevalent as they were in the weeks leading up to their games against the Wildcats. Giving up a powerplay goal is rough, but to give it up in the closing moments of a game to not only lose a shutout but lose a shutout to a team with a .100 winning percentage is brutal and should be noted as a point of weakness for the team.
Traveling to Attleboro, Mass. the next day, men’s hockey was hoping to keep their performance at its peak, not only against Johnson and Wales—which, judging by their 14–0–0 all-time record, is not hard for them to do—but in general. The Beacons prolonged their undefeated streak against the Wildcats with a 6–3 victory, though this time around, despite the lopsided score, the game was more competitive than the night before. The Beacons once again won more faceoffs, but this time by a far narrower margin of 39–37, and the first period ended in a scoreless tie (4).
However, men’s hockey soon tilted the ice and turned the game upside down, scoring three goals in the second period alone. Senior forward Andy Walker—who finished the game with three goals and a bucket of hats to pick from—got the scoring started for the Beacons halfway through the second, while Banks and junior defenseman Gino Carabelli accounted for the other two goals in the period. In the third, both teams had scoring outbursts, and a combined six goals scored in the final 20 minutes brought the final to a 6–3 barn burning blowout. The Beacons once again outplayed Johnson and Wales and outshot them by a ridiculous amount for a second night in a row, this time 55–22, but like their home win, one of the cons in their victorious effort was that they once again gave up a powerplay goal (4).
The Beacons’ main focus heading into the NEHC tournament must be to prioritize their offensive prowess, while also focusing on the improvement of their defensive breakdowns. If they want to run the table, they’ll have to sharpen their game to do so. Sure, maybe their wins against the Wildcats may help them with their seeding in the tournament, but if anything, there are a lot of lessons to be learned while facing one of the worst teams in the conference.
A critical lesson for the Beacons is that it’s imperative to work on maintaining a consistent and competent penalty kill while generating more shots on offense because that can be a valuable recipe in winning crucial games against ultra-competitive teams. Playing with the same intensity on offense as they did in weeks past gives men’s hockey a real shot, and now, implementing that same intensity in all three phases of the game would only benefit the Beacons in their efforts toward lighting up the NEHC tournament.

  1. Goals Galore! Men’s Ice Hockey Gets Back in Win Column at Home Against Johnson and Wales – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  2. 2022-23 Men’s Ice Hockey Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  3. https://youtu.be/qFWN60RxVrs
  4. Walker’s Hat Trick Lifts Men’s Ice Hockey on the Road – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor