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The Mass Media

Men’s hockey gets spit on by Camels in Codfish Bowl finals

Forward+Jacob+Kaminski+blocks+a+shot+against+UMass+Dartmouth+at+a+home+game.+Photos+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Forward Jacob Kaminski blocks a shot against UMass Dartmouth at a home game. Photos by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

Caution: thin ice. UMass Boston’s Men’s Hockey program has gone down quite a slippery slope this past year, and after things began to look promising prior to winter break, the Beacons let their shot at a redemption arc slip through the cracks. According to Beacons Athletics, their slate of games Jan. 5 and 6 at Barry Ice Rink—the site of the annual Codfish Bowl—saw their opponents tear up both the ice and the scoresheet, giving UMass Boston a run for their money while they sought after a three-peat in the annual holiday tournament. As a result, the Beacons lost out on bringing home gold, finishing as the runner-up in the finals against Connecticut College. Now, with their backs against the end boards, the team looks to move past their dreadful first half and bounce back in hopes of becoming a dark horse in the New England Hockey Conference.

Coming off an improbable-yet-impressive 4–4 draw against nationally ranked Endicott College, the Beacons entered the Codfish Bowl optimistic of securing another tournament win under their belt. The four-team tournament saw UMass Boston take on Worcester State in the semifinals, and statistically, the matchup leaned heavily in the Beacons’ favor. Going into the game with a record of 6–1–1 all-time against the Lancers, the Beacons were out for blood, and with the help of their razor-sharp play—and skates—made light work of Worcester State’s troops after turning in a first period that involuntarily set them back.

Beacons Athletics reported that the Beacons couldn’t light the lamp despite smothering Worcester State’s defensive zone, putting up 17 shots on net. The Lancers took advantage of any chance they had though, and were able to rifle one past netminder Sam Best to make it 1–0 after one. Now down a score through 20 minutes of action, the Beacons stormed back and got on the board by way of Ryan Leonard’s beauty, who was conveniently suiting up for his first game of the year after suffering an injury during the preseason. [2]

It didn’t take long for Leonard to get comfortable, nor did it take forward Jazz Krivstov long to go back to his roots as a bona fide playmaker for the team donning blue and white. Krivstov had a slow start to the year, as he netted his first goal against the Lancers, which is unlike him, given that his statistics show that he finished his 2023 campaign as a top three scorer for UMass Boston [3]; his contributions were missed on the Beacons’ stagnant offense. Krivstov’s goal put the Beacons ahead 2–1, and the team tried to propel from there, regardless of the Lancers’ valiant efforts. 

Corey Foley netted a much-needed insurance goal following Krivstov’s tiebreaker, extending the lead to 3–1 with 5:49 to go [4]. Worcester State cut the lead to 3–2 before the second frame was over, but their efforts didn’t suffice. Leonard and Krivstov traded blows to the Lancers’ weakened defense over the remainder of the game, the former of which gave the Beacons a 4–2 lead with 20 seconds left in the second, a complete momentum killer for Worcester State. 

The latter put the nail in the coffin for the Lancers, yet they still tried to muster up a last-ditch effort to equalize the score down three goals in the third. However, that was when they were met with the wrath of Best, who stonewalled them and held down the fort for UMass Boston.  When all was said and done, the Beacons’ strategy of firing cannons on net inevitably paid off, and their 49 shots proved to be the difference maker in their 5–3 victory. [2]

Their rampage on the Lancers left the Beacons in high spirits, and their mindset for their game the following day against Connecticut College was to keep up the tempo and take advantage of the Camels’ inexperience with the terrain. Though, it was the Camels who caught the Beacons off guard, and in their first matchup since 2016, they were able to take bragging rights back to the Constitution State. 

The first period brought forward massive opportunities for the Beacons to capitalize, drawing two separate penalties for four minutes on the man advantage. However, Beacons Athletics pointed out that they couldn’t drive a shot past Camels’ goaltender Sean Dynan, who flashed the leather on numerous occasions after facing 18 shots; Dynan’s dominance in the crease became a telltale sign of what the recurring theme would become as the game progressed. [5] 

Entering the second, the game became more evenly matched, with a goaltender’s nightmare being put on display, as an offensive showcase presented itself on both ends of the ice. Outshooting the Beacons 14–13 in the second, the additional shot for the Camels was the anomaly in the scorecards, and they found the back of the net just past the halfway point of the game to pull ahead 1–0. With time winding down and the second intermission looming, a boarding call on Jacob Banks with 42 seconds to go kept the Beacons from patching their wounds heading into the break. Soon thereafter, Banks’ trip to the sin bin helped Connecticut College deliver another devastating blow, and the Beacons couldn’t help but go into desperation mode in order to stop the bleeding. 

The game’s intensity went into overdrive in the third after the Beacons found themselves trying to dig out of a two-goal hole mere seconds in. Beacons Athletics’ play by play showed that Defensemen began pinching into the offensive zone in an effort to come back late, and Kevin Sadovski’s chances proved the strategy nearly paid off big time. Sadovski beat Dynan not once, but twice in a minute long span mid-way through the third, but the sharpshooting defenseman was robbed of paydirt after he rang it off the iron on both tries, seemingly handcuffed that his shots were close, but no cigar. Sadovski uncorked more shots immediately following his lack of puck luck, all of which were unfortunately blocked. [6]

The game now dwindling down to its closing stages, the Beacons pulled Best from the net for an extra attacker, but the 6-on-5 advantage was anything but successful. With the clock slowly rattling off the final ten seconds before reaching triple zeroes on the scoreboard, the Camels delivered one final shot for good measure to add insult to injury, forcing a final center-ice faceoff via an empty netter with two seconds left to pour spit onto the Beacons’ wounds. The Camels officially tilted the ice and turned the tides, while the Beacons took a page out of the Bruins’ book. More spit was rained down on the Beacons’ parade when the clock finally bled to zero, and the Camels’ trophy celebration and MVP presentation to Dynan officially ended the Beacons’ dynasty as Codfish Bowl Champions, bringing an unwanted Weekend Hump Day to Beaconville, and a blotted goose egg to the box score.

Needless to say, the Beacons were stopped in their tracks just when they were closing in on a midseason paradigm shift that could’ve helped them steer back on course. Then again, they still have every chance to do so, because even though the outcome of the Codfish Bowl didn’t go as planned, there is still room for men’s hockey to hone in on their skills before the season’s end. Dynan stood on his head for the entirety of what was an otherwise even matchup between two gritty teams, and that’s certainly a positive take away from the game. Beacons Athletics provided that UMass Boston outshot Connecticut College 41–29 and were dead even with them in the faceoff circle, as each team won the draw 36 times apiece. [5]

If anything, the puck just skipped right over the Beacons’ sticks, but by no means does that raise the inclination that adjustments don’t need to be made. Shots on goal are always a plus statistically—and any goal counts, no matter how pretty or ugly they may be—but finding better lanes and taking smarter shots will ultimately give way to more pucks finding the back of the net. Faceoffs could use some work too, given it would provide more opportunities for possession—and shots—but overall, the Beacons seem to be trending in the right direction. The Codfish Bowl could have been a great addition to the program’s trophy case this year, but there’s a better prize with more stipulations at stake in the coming months, and their shortcomings during the holiday season is just what they need to create a storm surge this winter.

 

[1] 2023-24 Men’s Ice Hockey Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

[2] Leonard and Krivstov Make a Splash in Codfish Bowl Semis – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

[3] 2022-23 Men’s Ice Hockey Cumulative Statistics – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

[4] Men’s Ice Hockey vs Worcester State University on 1/5/2024 – Box Score – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

[5] Men’s Hockey Wins Runner-Up at 58th Annual Codfish Bowl – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

[6] Men’s Ice Hockey vs Connecticut College on 1/6/2024 – Box Score – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

 

About the Contributors
Nick Collins, Sports Editor
Dong Woo Im, Photographer