BOSTON, Mass.—#9/9 UMass Boston battled past defending New England Hockey Conference Tournament Champions #12/12 Hobart College 4-2, to stay unbeaten in NEHC action.
#9 UMass Boston 4, #12 Hobart 2
(UMass Boston 9-1, NEHC 8-0)
(Hobart College 5-3, NEHC 3-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In a game that had the feeling and atmosphere of a playoff contest, UMass Boston scored three-straight goals in the second period and blanked the conference's top power-play, to move to 7-0 in NEHC play.
Senior Garrison Sanipass (Northbrook, Ill.) scored back-to-back goals in a three-minute span to give the Beacons the lead for good.
In net, junior Bailey MacBurnie (Beverly, Mass.) stayed undefeated on the season, by putting together one of his best performances of the year. The junior stopped 33 of 35 shots, including 15 in the second period and all nine he faced in the third.
Jonas Toupal and Will Harrison each scored the for the visitors, who fell to 0-4 all-time against the Beacons in Boston.
Junior goalie Alexander Connal dropped to 2-3 on the season, after making 32 saves on 35 shots.
The two teams played an exhilaratingly fast-paced and physical first period, but neither side had anything to show for it on the scoreboard.
UMass Boston was whistled for a 5-minute major late in the period, but the Statesmen were whistled for two penalties of their own-to nullify most of the five-minute advantage.
Harrison put the visitors on the board at 5:11 of the second. After the Beacons turned the puck over on their break out, Harrison fed the puck to Mark Benemerito along the far boards and then lifted a shot over MacBurnie, after Benemerito found him wide open in front of the net.
The Beacons answered back 5:03 later, when they took advantage of their second power-play opportunity of the day.
After winning the offensive zone draw, Gabe Chuckran (Media, Pa.) fed John Regnart (Anchorage, Alaska) at the top of the zone and Regnart found Peters wide open at the near circle. Peters easily scored on the half-empty net to tie the game at 10:14.
Sanipass made it 2-1 when he single-handedly bulldozed his way through three Statesmen. The 6-5 forward took the puck off the far wall, held off three defenseman and then slid the puck through Connal's five-hole at 12:52.
The senior added his second goal of the night 2:40 later. Freshman Jeffrey Skinner (Houston, Texas) fed Sanipass a drop pass in the near circle and after his first shot rebounded back to him, Sanipass banked a shot off the back of Connal, on a shot from below the goal line for a 3-1 lead at 15:12.
Hobart scored a huge goal at 17:50 to cut the deficit back to one. Zack Sternbach fed Lawson MacDougall, who one-timed a pass to Toupal at the Beacons blue line. Toupal held of a Beacons defender while on his on back hand, before unleashing a high shot with this forehand to make it 3-2 at 17:50.
UMass Boston had to kill off two penalties in the third period, including one to start the frame, but the Beacons were able to the keep the Statesmen in check.
After both sides saw a few Grade-A chances go by the wayside, Nitkin put the game out of reach at 18:14. With the Hobart net empty, the Beacons lost a defensive zone draw, but Nitkin forced a turnover at the top of the zone and then held off Hobart All-American defenseman Tanner Shaw-before easily pushing the puck into a wide-open net.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston held a 36-35 advantage in shots and a 43-40 advantage in face-offs.
- The Beacons finished 1-3 on the power-play, while Hobart went 0-8. The Statesmen came into the game first in the conference at 25 percent (7/28) on the power-play.
- With the win, UMass Boston improves to 5-2-1 all-time against the Statesmen. The Beacons are 3-1 against Hobart since they joined the NEHC.
- UMass Boston is 7-0 in conference play for only the second time in program history. The Beacons started 6-0 in 2014-15 and 2015-16, before losing their seventh game. The 1981-82 team started ECAC play 9-0, before losing 4-2 to Amherst College in their 10th conference game.
- Senior forward Drew Gannon (Plano, Texas) and sophomore defenseman Evan Heldt (Sylvania, Ohio) each made their season debuts in the win.
UMass Boston will close out conference play for the semester, when they host Skidmore College on Saturday at 4 p.m.