No Laughing Matter

Ryan Thomas

Not even the presence of the alumni could prevent a fourth-straight loss.

The UMass Boston men’s hockey team blew a two-goal lead and lost their fourth-straight game to the Castleton State College Spartans 4-3 on Saturday in front of UMass Boston and Boston State College alumni.

“We really wanted to keep up the pressure,” assistant head coach Jeff Pellegrini said after the game. “We told them not to sit back and play defensive, to keep pressure.”

After new addition Brett Calhoun scored 1:22 into the third period to make it 3-1 Beacons, the wheels seemed to fall off and the wind disappeared from UMass Boston’s sails.

Said Pellegrini: “We’re in the growing stages, but we’re happy with our effort. We just wish we could [have] contained them.”

After a power-play goal and an even-strength goal were scored by Castleton State to tie the game, the Spartans’ Evan Romeo did exactly what his team wanted: he scored the game-winner.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” the sophomore forward admitted after the game. “The puck was in the corner, [we] fished it out, shot from the corner off [goalie Ryan Donovan] and I just tucked the puck behind him.

“After we got that third goal, we realized that we just had to keep playing. We didn’t change it up or anything, we just had to play harder.”

Spartans head coach Alex Todd knew that even though his team was down two in the third period, they had a chance to come back. Said Todd: “The biggest thing for us was that we didn’t get flustered.

“The fact that we made some mistakes and recovered is rare in this league, and it’s a huge two points for us.”

Kris Kranzky, who, coming into the game, had an eleven-game point streak he was riding, got the honor of wearing the captain’s “C” on his jersey. After the game, he admitted his team might have let off the gas in the third. “I think for five minutes, we just weren’t playing the way we were the rest of the game.”

Those five minutes were costly. In a span of 4:37, the Beacons allowed two power-play goals and one even-strength goal; the game-winner coming on the power play.

“It’s a gut check,” Kranzky stated after the game. “Previous three, I thought we didn’t play up to our full potential. This game I thought we played pretty damn well. Our intensity was there, everyone was flying. We just didn’t get it [done].”

The scoring began in the first period when the Beacons’ David Lun stole the puck down a man, split two defenders and buried a wrist shot high, stick-side from inside the blue line.

With 26 seconds left in the first period, defenseman Wade Collins lost an edge near the blue line, and it allowed Spartans freshman Stuart Stefan to score on Ryan Donovan low, glove side, which tied the game at one going into intermission.

Midway through the second period, Kris Kranzky extended his point streak to an impressive 12 games when he assisted on Eric Tufman’s team-leading 14th goal of the season.

On the power play, Kranzky battled for the puck in the corner of the offensive zone, dug it out, and fed it to Tufman, who was at a bad angle. Tufman back-handed the puck over goalie Jay Seals’ left shoulder from 10 feet to give the Beacons a 2-1 lead. Kranzky was impressed with Tufman’s goal. “That was sick,” he said. “It hit the water bottle [and] he had, like, no room, too.”

Brett Calhoun started the scoring for the Beacons early in the third when he got a pass from Dennis Zak and put it away to give the Beacons a two-goal lead.

But after that, an unassisted power-play goal by Castleton’s Jeff Alexander, an even-strength goal by Steve Culbertson, and the last goal of the game, a power-play goal from Evan Romeo, put the game away for good.

The Beacons were out-shot 41-34 for the game, but out-shot the Spartans 17-9 in the third period.

This game marks the fifth consecutive in-conference loss for the Beacons. They are now 3-9-1 in conference this year.

UMass Boston has only two games left in the regular season, both of which are away.