AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - No. 2 Boston College (23-7-1, 17-6-1 HEA) used a three-goal second period to hold off the UMass hockey team in front of 6,274 fans on Friday night at the Mullins Center, 4-3. The Minutemen (6-19-5, 5-14-5 HEA) nearly erased the Eagle lead in the third period when Danny Hobbs made it a one-goal game five minutes into the final frame, but the Mass Attack could not complete the comeback in the final 15 minutes. Paul Dainton made 30 saves for the Minutemen, becoming the all-time leader in saves at Massachusetts, breaking Brian Regan's previous record of 3,050. UMass will head to Chestnut Hill tomorrow night for the series finale with the Eagles at 7 PM.
Friday's loss, coupled with Providence's draw with UMass-Lowell, keeps the Minutemen in playoff contention in one of the last two spots in the Hockey East standings. Boston College held a 34-20 advantage in shots for the game, testing Dainton with double-digit shots during each period. The Eagles also dominated the faceoff circle, winning 41-of-66 draws The Minutemen were 2-for-6 on the man advantage, scoring a power play goal for the third straight game while the Eagles went 2-for-5 on the man advantage.
The Eagles outshot the Minutemen 10-6 during a sloppy first period, and Boston College potted the game's first goal with 4:45 left in the opening frame. UMass thought it had taken an early lead eight minutes into the game when Eddie Olczyk received the puck off a faceoff win by Eric Filiou and hammered a shot that hit the bottom of the right post. The goal judge turned the red light on to signal a goal but referee John Gravallese, stationed adjacent to the cage, was quick to overrule him.
The Eagles got on the board with less than five minutes to play in the stanza as Brian Gibbons scored his 14th goal of the season with Boston College on its third power play of the period. The Eagles controlled the puck in the Minuteman zone, and Joe Whitney threw a shot on goal from the blueline that Gibbons got a piece of on its way past Dainton for the score. Boston College nearly took a two-goal advantage with 2:40 left in the period when Chris Kreider and Barry Almeida went on a two-on-one, but UMass defenseman Doug Kublin sprawled across the ice to take away the passing lane and redirect the puck into the corner.
Both offenses exploded during the second period as the two teams combined for five goals, three coming from the Eagles to hold a 4-2 lead through 40 minutes of play. Boston College began a string of four goals in 1:46 when Barry Almeida hammered home a rebound off a Cam Atkinson shot with five seconds remaining in a UMass penalty.
The Minutemen answered right back, however, as Conor Allen buried his second goal of the season just 23 seconds after the Almeida tally. After taking a pass from Brian Keane, Allen skated down the left side of the Eagle zone, and let a wrist shot go that beat Muse five-hole for the score. Jimmy Hayes gave Boston College its two-goal lead right back 26 seconds later when the Minutemen coughed the puck up behind Dainton's goal, where Hayes quickly picked it up and roofed a backhander over the shoulder of Dainton for Hayes' 16th goal of the season.
The Eagles then went up 4-1 when Paul Carey was on the receiving end of a one-timer during a two-on-one with Gibbons. Atkinson shoveled the puck up to Gibbons on the right side, and Gibbons fed Carey with a pass in the slot for a one-timer that hit the twine before Dainton could go post-to-post.
Massachusetts went on the power play late in the frame, and Joel Hanley cut the deficit back to two with 2.4 seconds left in the period when he rocketed a slap shot from just inside the point that got past Muse for Hanley's third goal of the season.
The Minutemen made it interesting during the third period, scoring five minutes into the frame while Dainton became UMass' all-time leader in saves with his first stop in the frame. Danny Hobbs netted the Minutemen's second power play goal of the night when he cleaned up the mess following a shot from the point. Hanley took a feed from Chase Langeraap at the point, and threw a shot through traffic that was blocked by an Eagle defender in front of the net. Hobbs, waiting at the doorstep, promptly buried the loose puck for his ninth goal of the season.
At the other end, Dainton kept UMass in the game, turning away all 11 Boston College shots during the final frame. The Minutemen pulled Dainton with 1:27 left in regulation in favor of the extra skater, but Massachusetts could not net the equalizer.