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The Mass Media

Men’s hockey has tilted the ice and turned their season around

UMass Boston Men’s Hockey image from Beacons Athletics. Image by Katie Wilbert.

Winter break is dubbed as the season of giving, and men’s hockey gave the gifts of hope and optimism with their recent four game winning streak, turning both heads and their season around with statement wins and offensive firepower. The Beacons began their season with a horrid 2–8 record, with their substandard powerplay and offense being a key factor in their poor start. The month of November was not a good one for the Beacons to say the least, with the end of the month being capped off by a four-game losing streak that saw them get outscored 16–1 total and 12–0 in the latter three games (1).

December proved to be a better month for the team though, as they went 3–0 and won the annual Codfish Bowl tournament for the second year in a row. Prior to the tournament, they won their third game of the season in a 3–2 overtime thriller on Dec. 2 against Anna Maria College (2) and took advantage of the near-month long break. The team extended their resurgence into January, but after a four game winning streak, the Beacons have dropped their last two, bringing their record to 6–10 (1).  While their record may be disappointing, the Beacons have a lot of momentum and are playing the best hockey of their season—and just in time too, as the regular season is coming to a close over the next few weeks.

Heading into the Codfish Bowl on Dec. 27, the Beacons had a lot of time off to regroup and work on their inconsistencies in preparation for the most important stretch of their season. A lot of the hardships the team faced over the course of their campaign were rooted in their lackluster offense. There were a lot of question marks surrounding how the Beacons would play in the latter half of the year, especially with the idea that the momentum of their overtime win was likely long gone.

However, the Beacons came out firing against Fitchburg State State in the first round of the tournament, jumping out to an early 1–0 lead after forward Evan Googins beat Fitchburg State goalie Max Macchioni glove side on a wrist shot (3). The Falcons responded quickly though, beating Beacon goalie Sam Best 63 seconds later. The Beacons stayed resilient and fought back scoring three unanswered goals over the final two periods to soar over the Falcons with a 4–1 victory (3).

Best stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced (4), while Googins scored another goal on a nifty forehand move that—once again—beat Macchioni glove side with a nasty top shelf finish. Other goals were scored by forward Evan Bourdow, who potted a rebound off of a give and go attempt between Googins and forward Devin Moran, and forward Corey Clifton, who netted a wrist shot that sealed the win for the Beacons (3).

The offensive attack against Fitchburg State was much needed, as the team was finally able to get their power play going, scoring goals on two of their five chances with the man advantage (4). Not only that, the defense and special teams played a huge role too, with the penalty kill not allowing a goal on any of the Falcons’ five power play opportunities (4). With their statement win over Fitchburg State in round one, the Beacons hoped to propel their momentum into their matchup against Albertus Magnus College in the Codfish Final, and they happened to do just that with a second 4–1 victory on back-to-back nights.

Men’s hockey would once again light Bobby the Beacon’s lamp on the powerplay, this time scoring three goals on the advantage in their win over the second wave of Falcons. Corey Clifton—MVP of the tournament (5)—got the scoring started when he ripped a one timer past goalie Logan Bateman (6). The Beacons would extend their lead to 2–0 on a goal from forward Grady Friedman, who took a centering pass from forward Mike Manzo and hit a one timer in the slot for the goal (6). It would be one of Manzo’s four assists on the night (5) and the Beacons were not finished there.

Defenseman Blake Colman was arguably the player of the game, as he got the lead up to 3–0 when he ripped a wrist shot past Bateman from the slot off an offensive zone faceoff. The Falcons would eventually score a goal of their own to pull within two, but the Beacons became the team to respond quickly this time around. Colman buried his second goal of the night just thirteen seconds after the Falcons scored their lone goal, scoring on a shot uncannily identical to his first—putting everybody in Barry Ice Rink into a state of deja vu in the process (6). The Beacons would ultimately prevail and win the Codfish Bowl with impressive stats across the board, going 11-for-11 on penalty kills and scoring five powerplay goals in the two game stretch (5).

After the tournament, men’s hockey stood at a 5–8 record and were able to improve to 6–8 after a massive 7–2 road win over Castleton on Jan. 6. The game saw five players score goals for the Beacons, and 10 players tally an assist in the blowout (7). Not only that, Googins tacked on two more goals to rack up four goals in a three game stretch (7), proving he is undoubtedly a spark for an igniting Beacon offense that scored a jaw dropping five goals in the second period alone. The Beacons added salt to the Spartans’ wounds in the third period too, scoring two more goals—both shorthanded—for the five goal margin. If that start line doesn’t prove how phenomenal the penalty kill has been, who knows what would.

As for the offense, their winning streak saw them have a complete turnaround in production, scoring four or more goals in three consecutive games, and three or more in five consecutive games. That streak has since been broken with their 1–0 overtime loss against Norwich University on Jan. 13 (8). Nonetheless, Norwich is ranked fifth and the Beacons showcased their grit by keeping the game scoreless through regulation, and though they may be on a two-game losing streak at the moment, there are still an abundance of positives to take away from these losses.

The Beacons’ loss against Skidmore College on Jan. 7 still had a great offensive showing with Googins adding another goal to his stellar stretch of games, bringing his hot streak to five goals in a four-game span. Clifton also had a nice four game point streak going, while Manzo also recorded a goal and an assist that extended his now broken point streak to three (9). Regarding the match against Norwich, their performance was admirable, as it has proved that the Beacons are more than capable of keeping the game competitive against top teams in the conference, and also highlighted the improvement of both goaltender Sam Best and the teams defense over the course of the season.

For the Beacons, their record may not be the prettiest, but their gameplay sure has been fun to watch over the past couple of weeks, and it’s only up from here. Their competitive nature and revived offense have put them on the radar as one of the better teams in the New England Hockey Conference as of late. If anything, the way that they played against teams earlier in the season compared to their last handful of games truly is night and day. With the regular season soon coming to a close, the Beacons have a whole lot to prove heading into the NEHC tournament because now, they’re out of the Mariana Trench and are no longer in too deep.

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

  2. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Krivtsov! Men’s Ice Hockey Snaps Losing Streak In Overtime Thriller – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  3. https://youtu.be/78WbSS7s6Hw

  4. Googins Goes Off! Men’s Ice Hockey Advances to Codfish Bowl Championship – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  5. Kings of the Codfish (Bowl), Men’s Ice Hockey Wins 57th Annual Codfish Bowl Championship – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  6. https://youtu.be/nsH_3Mv2Q0s

  7. Lucky Sevens Send Men’s Ice Hockey to Fourth Straight Win – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  8. Men’s Ice Hockey Falls in Overtime to No. 5 Norwich University – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  9. Third Period Rally Falls Short for Men’s Ice Hockey on Road Versus Skidmore – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor