Consistency was the issue for Jerry York’s squad last night. As associate head coach Mike Cavanaugh, filling in for the recovering York with Greg Brown, pointed out, “All games are ebb and flow. Very rarely are you controlling the game for 60 minutes.”
Yet Boston College found themselves unable to get the wheels moving for more than a few minutes, falling to the UMass Minutemen 5-2.
“They did a very good job of stopping our momentum,” Brown said. “We might have two or three good shifts in a row, but we never got a string of four, five and six shifts where we really got all the lines rolling to push the momentum in our favor. They did a very good job of stopping that when we did get going.”
After splitting last weekend’s two game series versus UNH, Boston College summoned a relatively flat first period. The Eagles played nearly the first ten minutes of the game up one man, sometimes two.
Not only did they have nothing to show for it, but after some poor play in the neutral zone, found themselves losing. UMass forward Steven Guzzo’s shorthanded goal stopped BC in its tracks. Brown attributed it to his team “moving the puck very quickly in the first period, but [UMass] did a very good job of pushing down ice. Their two forwards came down to disrupt our breakout and they did a very good job of keeping us from getting set up.”
The Eagle forwards had a succession of near misses off nine shots on those power plays that went both off the post and into the blockers of UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz. After the early power plays ended for BC their play went with it, as the second half of the first period and the entire second period were all UMass, who took a 2-0 lead.
BC recorded just three shots in the second period, however creshman defender Travis Jeke managed to find the net to pull within one goal going in the third period.
Riding high off a late goal by Jeke, BC tied the game up off a clever pass by Johnny Gaudreau to Steven Whitney four minutes into the third period. The rest of the third was marked by physical play, as the Eagles looked to repeat November’s comeback win against UMass. The Minutemen dominated crunch time though, scoring 3 goals in the final minutes to win decisively.
Ultimately, the inconsistency for the night was a result of poor cohesion among the defensive and offensive units, Cavanaugh said.
“Collectively, as a group, we’re not playing team defense and that doesn’t just mean your goaltender and your defense. I think that’s your forwards as well.”
Unable to work well together, BC couldn’t transition well in the neutral zone and take care of the puck. UMass’ goals weren’t a result of long attacks, but quick goals from not taking care of the puck properly.
Many critics may point to BC’s inexperience on defense, after losing their defensive core from last year. While the coaching staff acknowledges that, Brown said, “There is some inexperience but I think were not as sharp as we have been… I think we’re not helping each other as much as we had been. Its more of a team thing where we’re leaving each other to do a little more work.”