44°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s hockey picks themselves up after minor slip on ice

Men%E2%80%99s+hockey+players+huddle+during+a+home+game.+Photo+courtesy+of+Beacon+Athletics.
Men’s hockey players huddle during a home game. Photo courtesy of Beacon Athletics.

Sometimes, when creating hot ice, it won’t be a good day, and when the scorching hot Beacons stepped foot on the ice against the Beavers, they slipped and got burned almost instantly. UMass Boston Men’s Hockey went on a two-day weekend road trip from Jan. 26 to 27 to face Babson College and the University of Southern Maine. Coming off their unbelievable upset against the ranked Norwich College, the Beacons had a pep in their step and some firepower in their sticks. Their time on the wagon didn’t last long, though, and shellshock became apparent after they went down in the count in the blink of an eye.

According to Beacons Athletics, the Beacons went into the Beavers’ den with the intent to reignite their flame from the previous week and extend their winning streak to three. However, Babson didn’t seem to care about their opponents riding high into the weekend, popping the tires underneath the Beacons immediately with the help of a goal by Thomas Kramer 14 seconds into their Friday night matchup. [1] As a result, the Beacons had to work on a whim and improvise in order to get themselves back to an even playing field; luckily, they had the remaining 59 minutes to do so. 

With the way UMass Boston played in recent weeks, they wasted no time regaining their composure, and their resilience in the face of adversity paid off. After allowing Kramer to cram the first shot into the back of the net, Antonio Tarantino morphed into a brick wall for the Beacons, and the netminders’ ability to keep the game at bay allowed the team to capitalize. A tripping call on Babson’s Colby Bailey with 7:41 remaining in the first became the first real opportunity for the Beacons to strike, and they took their chance in stride. 

With the man advantage, the Beacons locked in, attempting to fight back after being outshot 14–8 and outdrawn in the faceoff circle 10–9 to that point. Center Conor Foley stepped up to the occasion, buried a shot past Babson’s goalie Mason Rosado just nine seconds into the powerplay, evening the score to one. A cluster of shots poured in for Tarantino, who held his own for the remainder of the period. Halfway through the game, Babson was once again able to slip through the cracks. 

The Beavers went on the powerplay after Michael Krusinski was called for a hold. Ironically enough, under strangely similar circumstances, in which they scored in short time during the 5-on-4, Bailey came through with his redemption arc. He rifled one past Tarantino after 22 seconds elapsed in the powerplay to pull Babson ahead for the second time with 9:26 remaining in the second period. 

While the Beacons tried everything they could to even the game, the remaining 29 minutes went scoreless on both sides, and UMass Boston’s loss came with a side of heartbreak and frustration. The puck luck for the Beacons went south as the night went on. Jazz Krivtsov rang one off the pipe just four minutes after Babson’s game winner. After peppering Rosado with shots throughout the final 20 minutes, none would seep through, and the Beacons dropped their first match in two weeks, reported by Beacons Athletics. [2]

The Beacons could’ve taken the easy route and hung their heads after getting chewed up by the Beavers, but men’s hockey tuned themselves up for their matchup against the Huskies the following day. The game didn’t begin without some rust in the Beacons’ skates, though, and after learning of their loss the previous night, the Huskies were out for blood. 

Right off the opening draw, Southern Maine’s Chris Judd was millimeters away from putting the Beacons into panic mode for the second straight night. He beat goaltender Sam Best, but unfortunately, not the goal itself. He rang one off the iron 30 seconds in. It wasn’t until nearly six minutes into the matchup that the Beacons finally got a shot on Huskies’ goalie Kyle Penton. 

Jade Kurtas was the first Beacon to aim one on net, and subsequently, Kurtas pulled out an Uno reverse card, scoring on the shot to give the Beacons a 1–0 game, officially taking the hinges off the game. Fans didn’t know it, but they were in for a treat. The bloodbath continued with an avalanche of shots on both sides; Beacons Athletics reported that after one period, shots were 19–15 in favor of UMass Boston. [3] 

The second period fared to be no different, and Penton experienced a wave of déjà vu with the help of Jacob Kaminski’s stick. The forward scored less than two minutes into the middle frame after blueliner Chris Merryman missed the mark twice on UMass Boston’s first two shots of the period. His score would become one of just seven registered shots on goal for UMass Boston in the second, and as a result of the Beacons’ offensive standstill, gave the Huskies moments to strike. Best was smothered with 15 more shots on goal before the clock reached triple zeroes; one of them found twine. Southern Maine’s Matt Sullivan scored with 12:39 to go, cutting the lead to 2–1. Matt Pollara nearly netted the equalizer with 1:18 to go, but his shot stayed out by way of the pipe. [3]

With 20 minutes to go, the intensity started to pick up, and things quickly started to get chippy. The Huskies’ Ethan MacDuff wound up biting off more than he could chew, and he was sent to the box with a five minute major on a roughing call, killing any momentum Southern Maine had up to that moment. With a powerplay that ticked up a quarter of the period, and nearly half the period already ticked by before MacDuff’s mistake, the Beacons gained full control of the game, and if need be, could go full throttle. [3]

Foley nearly made Macduff pay a mere four seconds into the man advantage, but he, like many others, was robbed of a celebration, and robbed by the pipe. The good news for his shortcoming was that defenseman Kevin Sadovski was there for mop-up duty; Sadovski became the first of two scorers for the Beacons in the third. His sixth of the season gave the Beacons a 3–1 lead, and conveniently, the powerplay was still intact for another four minutes, seemingly—barring a miracle—squandering all hopes the Huskies had at a comeback. Nick Ritmo of Southern Maine went to the sin bin for a dirty hit with 49 seconds to go in the major, which gave the Beacons a window to really pour salt into the wounds with a short-lasting five-on-three advantage, and they did just that. [3]

After finding himself handcuffed, Foley got his retribution and restitution from the pipe for his highway robbery earlier in the powerplay, and with five seconds before the major was over, released Ritmo on parole, scoring his seventh on the year, and tucking the Huskies in for bedtime. With UMass Boston in possession of a three-goal lead with just over six minutes to play, all they had to do was kill the clock and seal the win. Beacons’ forward Gino Carabelli earned a trip to the slammer for slashing, but for good measure, the penalty kill did its job, and 13 seconds after Carabelli’s escape, the Huskies were called for too many men on the ice with 1:25 left, putting the game away for good. 

It was a well-earned win for the Beacons. Seeing Beacons Athletics’ statistics, despite a somewhat equal turnout metrically in both shots and faceoffs, the team raced away from the Huskies by relying on their consistency on special teams and playing hard-fought, situational hockey. [4] They may have dipped their feet onto the hot ice a bit too fast against Babson, but at some point, burnout was needed, and it’s best not to get too hot going into playoffs. 

Needless to say, men’s hockey is dumping their old ways that held them back earlier on in the year, and chasing the high that the New England Hockey Conference Championship presents. The offense is finding their footing, the defense looks sharp and as Beacons Athletics points out, with Best spinning around on his head the past few weeks, the Beacons look like they’re in a Cinderella story. [5,6] Knowing that, maybe a Disney movie isn’t out of the question.

 

  1. Men’s Ice Hockey vs Babson College on 1/26/2024 – Box Score – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  2. 2023-24 Men’s Ice Hockey Schedule – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  3. Men’s Ice Hockey vs University of Southern Maine on 1/27/2024 – Box Score – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  4. Four Beacs, Four-Piece For the University of Southern Maine as The Beacs Roll The Huskies. – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  5. Wilbert, Best, Foley Earn NEHC Weekly Honors for Women’s, Men’s Ice – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  6. Best Earns NEHC Honors After Rewriting History Books – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

 

About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor