BOSTON, Mass.—#4 UMass Boston sophomore forward Nolan Redler (Winchester, Mass.) scored two goals in the final 3:03, to lead the Beacons past fifth-seeded New England 5-3 in the New England Hockey Conference Quarterfinals.
#4 UMass Boston 5, #5 New England College 3
(UMass Boston 17-9)
(New England College 12-12-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
For the fourth-straight time this season, UMass Boston and New England College went back-and-forth with the game coming down to the final five minutes.
The Beacons held leads of 1-0 and 3-2, while New England College held a 2-1 advantage midway through the second.
In the end it was Redler, who recorded his third-straight game with two goals and a game-winning tally. The sophomore took a pass from Bross and waited patiently, before roofing a shot over a sprawling Kyle Shapiro with 3:03 remaining in regulation. He caught the post on his first empty-net chance, before putting the icing on the cake with an empty-net goal at 18:59.
The Beacons top line had their third huge game of the season against the Pilgrims. Redler, Colin Larkin (Waterford, Mich.) and Zack Bross (St. Louis, Mo.) scored three of the Beacons' final four goals and finished with three goals and five assists on the night. Redler and Larkin (one goal and two assists) each had a team-high three points, while Bross had an assist on each of Redler's third period goals.
In net, sophomore Bailey MacBurnie (Beverly, Mass.) made 30 saves on 33 shots to earn his first collegiate playoff win.
On the other side, Kyle Shapiro saw his collegiate career come to an end, after making 29 saves on 33 shots.
Seniors Bryce Nielsen and Joe Osaka both scored for the Pilgrims, while Adam Zollner added the team's first goal. Sophomore Carlos Fornaris paced the team with his team-leading two assists.
Neither side could gain any distance from the other for the first 55 minutes, as the teams traded ties and one-goal leads.
New England College jumped out to a great start in the period, but MacBurnie was able to make a ton of saves-including five saves during one sequence in the first 10 minutes.
Nachbaur and the Beacons began to shift the momentum and the sophomore gave UMass Boston the lead at 13:09. After defenseman John Bonno (Kennesaw, Ga.) pinched forward to keep the puck in the zone, Nachbaur skated from below the goal line and collected the puck along the near boards. He took two strides towards the slot before unleashing a low shot that Shapiro never saw because of a Tyler Sifferlen (North Andover, Mass.) screen.
The Pilgrims made the Beacons pay with their first power-play chance of the game. After UMass Boston failed to clear the puck on two occasions, Connor Fries found a wide open Adam Zollner in the slot and he beat MacBurnie through the five-hole with a minute to go in the period.
New England College took their only lead of the game at 8:02 of the second. With the Beacons on the penalty kill for the second time, the Pilgrims passed the puck around the perimeter, before finding Nielsen all alone in the far circle. The senior had to readjust on the catch, before unleashing a high shot over MacBurnie's left shoulder to make it 2-1.
UMass Boston kept the strong power-play action going when they scored on their first power-play. Redler and Larkin passed it back-and-forth along the far side, before Larkin teed up a wrister over Shapiro's shoulder at 13:21.
The action and the goals sped up in the third period.
Albano gave UMass Boston the lead back at 1:01 of the third, when he skated the puck in behind the net, got Shapiro to commit and weaved a soft shot through traffic from a tight angle.
Osaka and the Pilgrims top line answered back less than a minute later. Fornaris started a 2-on-1 the other way with a great outlet pass. Mike Whitehair dished the puck off for Osaka who snuck a shot just inside the near post for a 3-3 tie.
It would take 15 more minutes for either team to break the scoreless tie.
After several big saves from MacBurnie and Shapiro to preserve the tie, UMass Boston used a total team performance to take the lead at 16:57.
Larkin started the play by diving full extension to push the puck across for Bonno. Bonno sent a soft wrister from the point that got knocked down in the low slot. Larkin and Bross kept the play alive and Bross sent a blind no luck pass to Redler on the near post. With Shapiro diving to block the shot, Redler patiently pulled the puck backwards before roofing a shot off the underside of the bar at 16:57.
He put the game away at 18:59, to send the raucous Beacons crowd into a frenzy.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston held a 34-33 edge in shots and a 45-37 lead in face-offs.
- The Pilgrims went 2-3 on the power-play, while the Beacons finished 1-1.
- Bonno led all Beacons players with a +3 rating on the day.
- Larkin tied the program-record for power-play goals in a single-season with 10. He matched Dan Mecrones ('87) who put up 10 power-play goals during the 1985-86 season.
- Redler leads the country in goals (24) and matched the program-record for game-winning goals with five in a single-season.
- MacBurnie is tied for second all-time in program history with his 16 wins in a single-season. He matched Billy Faust ('16) for second and sits one win behind Zach Andrews ('16) who won 17 games during the 2012-13 season.
- The Beacons top line recorded 11 goals and 15 assists in four games against New England College this year.
#4 UMass Boston will travel to #1 Norwich University next Saturday at 7 p.m. in the NEHC Semifinals.