52°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s hockey skids against Skidmore to end 2024 season

Forward+Conor+Foley+faces+off+against+the+University+of+Southern+Maine+during+a+previous+home+game.+Photo+by+Dong+Woo+Im+%2F+Mass+Media+Staff.
Dong Woo Im
Forward Conor Foley faces off against the University of Southern Maine during a previous home game. Photo by Dong Woo Im / Mass Media Staff.

Men’s hockey’s illustrious season came to an end after their taste of the New England Hockey Conference tournament turned sour. The Beacons fell to Skidmore College after hitting the road as the sixth seed in the annual month of mayhem, skidding on the ice throughout before finally succumbing to the Thoroughbreds 5–1 Saturday, Feb. 17.  According to Beacons Athletics, UMass Boston hung on early with the help of Sam Best’s heroics in the first period, but trouble brewed in the final 40, as Skidmore thoroughly picked the Beacons apart in their defensive zone. [1]

In the opening frame, Best stopped eight of the nine shots he faced. The only time the puck made its way through the wickets came with 1:10 to go, which ironically, was the final shot that came his way before the siren sounded. Trying to recover from  a 1–0 hole, UMass Boston was forced to try and dig themselves out of deep sludge, but with the Thoroughbreds’ sights set on the finish line—playing in front of a home crowd of 850 diehard fans—the Beacons were in need of their greatest performance yet. The second period, however, filled with mishaps and misfortunes, set them back even deeper.

Within striking distance, the Beacons had a golden opportunity to even the score at one early in the second period. The team managed to pressure Skidmore immensely with five shots in the first five minutes, and their resounding efforts to get on the board paid off after drawing an interference penalty, ultimately leading to a powerplay opportunity. Although, the man advantage didn’t live up to its name for the Beacons; Skidmore streaked up the ice 62 seconds into their penalty kill and scored an all-important shorthanded goal, stretching their lead to two. It was the fourth shortie allowed by the Beacons this year. One of the biggest things they must focus on in the offseason is to limit turnovers on the powerplay, and better yet, generate smarter, more productive scoring chances with open ice. 

Now down two scores against the formerly-ranked Thoroughbreds, the Beacons were in hot water, and the second period still hadn’t reached its boiling point. According to Beacons Athletics’ play-by-play coverage, six minutes after Kevin Urquhart’s shorthanded goal, Skidmore took full advantage of their own time on the five-on-four. Cooper Rice cooked up a beauty for his eighth of the year, giving the Beacons a sort of coup de grâce with 26 minutes to go. [2] UMass Boston would throw four more shots Tate Brandon’s way, but the skill of the Thoroughbred’s netminder kept the game at bay heading into the third period. 

It was do or die for the Beacons in the final 20, and knowing their season was on the line, they stepped up and played their best hockey of the day. Once again, they delivered five of their 15 shots of the period within the opening minutes. Unfortunately, nothing squeaked by Brandon, and with time winding down, Danny Magnuson delivered for Skidmore with 12:26 remaining, scoring his tenth of the year to give the Thoroughbreds a fourth wind and a 4–0 edge. For the remainder of the game, the Beacons were attempting everything from the book to miraculously save their season. Three minutes elapsed, and three more shots made their way to the pads and glove of Brandon, but with 8:56 to go, there was a slight change of fate. 

Koyle Bankauskas got the Beacons to within three, banking off a Jacob Banks’ pass that was on the money. Bankauskas’ fifth of the year, however, was anything but a momentum killer for the Thoroughbreds. An interference call on blue liner Kevin Sadovski with 5:16 remaining squandered any chance of a comeback for the Beacons, barring a miracle on ice. When Sadovski got out of the box, men’s hockey had 3:16 to work with, and 47 seconds later, Best left his net for an extra attacker. Needing three goals, the Beacons did a great job possessing the puck and playing six-on-five, but 91 seconds after the Beacons’ puck stopper went to the bench, Skidmore scored an empty netter, and it was all she wrote for the Beacons.

The 5–1 loss to Skidmore ended the promising run that men’s hockey had, and now that the Cinderella story has been scrapped, there’s a lot to improve on in the offseason. Some of the bigger things that stick out like a sore thumb revolve around offensive consistency; Beacons Athletics’ statistics presents the fact that even after outshooting opponents 912–806, the Beacons were outscored 84–63. [3] Moreover, their penalty kill has some brushing up to do; opponents were successful on 25 percent of power plays when facing UMass Boston, compared to the Beacons’ six percent rate on their own man advantages—another substantial hole in their game that must be filled. Needless to say, the Beacons have a lot of work to do, but with the right adjustments, they’ll be standing atop the NEHC in no time.

 

  1. Men’s Hockey Bow Out of NEHC Tournament at Skidmore – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  2. Men’s Ice Hockey vs Skidmore College on 2/17/2024 – Box Score – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)
  3. 2023-24 Men’s Ice Hockey Cumulative Statistics – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

 

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