BC too much for Minutemen
UMass, the No. 8 seed, went into last night’s Hockey East quarterfinal series against top-seeded Boston College knowing it would be a long shot to take two victories and advance to TD Garden next weekend.
Now, the Minutemen are just looking for one win tonight to keep going. The Eagles took a 3-0 lead and never looked back in a 4-1 victory before 2,868 at Conte Forum.
BC (27-7-1) has won five straight and has just one loss in the last 14 (12-1-1). UMass (6-22-6) has lost to the Eagles 10 straight times. The last time the Minutemen won at Conte Forum was Nov. 17, 2007.
“This gives us one win, but you need one more win to go to the Garden,’’ said BC coach Jerry York. “We’ll be proud we’ve won the first one, but now it’s all business. We’ve got to get that second one and it doesn’t come easy.’’
UMass started with tremendous energy, particularly in the first half of the opening period, but couldn’t capitalize on several scoring opportunities. It was after a UMass flurry at the end of a power play that BC scored its first goal. At 10:31, Pat Mullane dished a pass from the right circle to Jimmy Hayes in the slot. Hayes’s shot hit a defender in front and beat senior goalie Paul Dainton (31 saves) over the shoulder for his 17th goal of the season on BC’s third shot.
The Eagles added their second goal less than a half-minute into the second. At the 14-second mark, Cam Atkinson potted a rebound of Joe Whitney’s shot that Dainton couldn’t handle.
BC senior goalie John Muse weathered quite a storm later in the period with UMass pressing. During a 4 on 4, Rocco Carzo was denied from just outside the right post, and moments later Muse blocked an attempt by Michael Pereira, who tried to jam in a shot from outside the right post.
The Eagles made it a three-goal lead at 11:18 on a shorthanded strike by Brian Gibbons. Gibbons got the puck from blue liner Brian Dumoulin, who earlier had saved a goal for BC, and raced in on Dainton, beating him on a forehand shot from the slot.
UMass scored 34 seconds later when Danny Hobbs beat Muse (26 saves) from the slot for his 12th of the season.
BC restored its three-goal cushion at 2:30 of the third when Barry Almeida took a pass from Steven Whitney and slid the puck past Dainton from just outside the left post.
“There’s not much to say,’’ said UMass coach Don Cahoon. “I thought the first 10 minutes were played the way we wanted them to play. We had some chances and it would’ve been nice to be able to get something for that 10 minutes of effort. We can’t fall behind by three against this team. And we need more if we’re going to be able to compete and beat this team.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.