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The Mass Media

Men’s hockey performance takes a dip

Umass+Boston+most+recent+Mens+Hockey+game.+Photo+by+Dave+Walberg+of+Beacon+Athletics.

Umass Boston most recent Men’s Hockey game. Photo by Dave Walberg of Beacon Athletics.

It may not be time to hit the panic button yet, but Bobby Beacon should be on the lookout for men’s hockey moving toward the deep end again. The Beacons seemed to have had a hangover that stemmed from their massive upset win over Babson College on Jan. 21. Just as they were getting on the right track and looking like their record could break even, they lost two straight games to Hobart College and Elmira College, as both their inconsistency and away game woes worsened (1).

The Beacons capped off a monumental three game winning streak against the twelfth ranked Babson College Beavers and looked like they were on track to add onto their storybook season, one that has seen them make one of the greatest record reversals in program history. After their 3–1 victory over Babson, the Beacons looked like they were unstoppable; they had gone 7–2 since their pivotal 3–2 overtime win against Anna Maria College on Dec. 2 and accumulated both a four game win streak and three game win streak in that stretch (1).

 Much of that success was because of the power play. After beginning the season with a terrible 2–8 record and playing as if there was cement weighing their skates down, the Beacons started to get the memo that the goal is to embarrass the opposing teams and not themselves. After having this revelation, the Beacons cleaned house and went on to score a mind boggling 12 power play goals during their hot streak (2). However, after scoring zero goals on the man advantage and losing by scores of 6–1 to Hobart and 4–0 to Elmira, men’s hockey’s momentum had taken a hit, as they now look like they’ve backpedaled, playing like they did earlier on in the year.

The Beacons’ home and away records are somewhat polarizing; their success at home has been a key factor in saving their season, but their away games have caused constant blows to their record (1). With their two games against Hobart and Elmira being on the road in New York, one could argue that it was a lost cause, but with the way the Beacons were playing, there was a lot of room for optimism.

Men’s hockey faced Hobart College and Elmira College on Jan. 27 and 28, and after coming off of a three-game win streak and playing remarkably well, it seemed like the weekend road trip to New York could finally be the time that the Beacons got over .500 in their 2022-23 campaign. Instead, the Beacons were unable to exercise their demons and lost both games on the road, with their away record moving to an eyesore of 3–7. Despite going into the weekend with a record of 9–10 to go along with an extraordinary track record on the power play, men’s hockey fell to 9–12 with only one goal scored in the two-game leg.

The game against Hobart seemed like it would be close after one period of play, with freshman forward Jazz Krivtsov tying the game at 1–1. Although, the second ranked Statesmen proved they were ranked second for a reason, scoring four second period goals to extend their lead to 5–1, essentially putting the game out of reach with only two thirds of the game played so far. Hobart would add insult to injury with a sixth goal in the third, beating the Beacons 6–1 (3). The Beacons would let up two powerplay goals to the Statesmen (4), while senior goaltender Sam Best would be pulled after allowing four goals on twenty shots. Sophomore goalie Darius Bell relieved Best, stopping 14 shots on 16 attempts.

The Beacons tried to bounce back the next day against the Soaring Eagles, but they couldn’t claw their way back from a 4–0 hole, and Elmira soared past them, winning by the same score (5). The trend of poor play in all three phases continued for the struggling Beacons; their penalty kill performed even worse than the night before, allowing three power play goals on five attempts (4).

To make matters worse, their powerplay and offense were unable to avenge themselves from their demoralizing loss the night prior. Even though they outshot Elmira 42–22, UMass Boston couldn’t get a single shot by goaltender Kyle Curtin, and when the curtains closed for the weekend, the Beacons finished their two matches scoreless for five straight periods (5).

Moving forward, men’s hockey’s main focus must be to rejuvenate the powerplay that brought them success over the past couple of months. They have to also make sure that there are no blunders on the penalty kill, as those could ultimately be a breaking point and become exploited by opponents in their quest for the NEHC championship. They’ve been playing extremely well since the end of the Fall semester, and now is not the time to take their foot off the gas pedal because even if they do slow down, their season can still crash and burn.

  1. 2022-23 Men’s Ice Hockey Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  2. 2022-23 Men’s Ice Hockey Cumulative Statistics – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  3. Men’s Ice Hockey Defeated by No. 2 Hobart College on the Road – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  4. 2022-23 Men’s Ice Hockey Cumulative Statistics – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  5. Men’s Ice Hockey Shutout on Road Versus Elmira College – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor