UMass hockey falls to No. 6 Michigan, 7-2, in first of two meetings

By HANNAH BEVIS 

Staff Writer 

Published: 10-13-2023 11:22 PM

Modified: 10-13-2023 11:22 PM


AMHERST — Through the first 15 minutes of the opening period, it looked liket he Massachusetts hockey team had shown up as its best self against No. 6 Michigan. UMass was pressing hard in the offensive zone, firing quality shots during their opening power play opportunity and generally hemming Michigan in their own zone. 

But then the Wolverines put their foot on the gas, causing the Minutemen to falter. From there, it was all downhill. 

UMass stumbled to a 7-2 loss to Michigan on Friday night in their first of two games against the Wolverines. Michigan freshman Garrett Schifsky and junior Dylan Duke scored twice for the Wolverines and Michigan goalie Jake Barczewski made 22 stops in the win. Cole Brady took the loss in net for UMass, making 24 stops.

Despite the uneven score, both coaches said postgame that the game was much closer than the final score indicated, especially in the first period. 

“I would say they probably took it to us the majority of the first period and they probably deserved more. That wasn’t a 2-0 first period,” Michigan head coach Brandon Naurato said. “We got a little lucky, got some bounces, got some big saves by Jake Barczewski and we talked about doing things differently after the first.”

The Minutemen were flying in the opening frame, particularly with the man advantage. Though they didn’t score on their first power play, the Minutemen had a number of high quality chances, staying on the offensive for most of the two minutes they had and testing Barczewski. 

But once Michigan saw an opening, they executed. The Wolverines were clinical on their power play, connecting passes crisply as though the puck was magnetized to their sticks.

Though the UMass penalty kill stepped up and kept them off the board the first PP chance Michigan had, the Wolverines capitalized on their second PP opportunity of the night with Taylor Makar in the box for holding. Duke sent a perfect cross-ice pass to a wide-open TJ Hughes near the left face-off dot. Before Cole Brady could push over to the other side of the net, Hughes had already buried the puck to give Michigan a 1-0 lead. 

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

PHOTOS: Fight prompts brief traffic backup on Hope Street in Greenfield
Sunderland Bridge being reduced to one-lane traffic next week
Div. 5 softball: Turners Falls father-daughter duo of assistant coach Jay Liimatainen, pitcher Madi Liimatainen celebrate Father’s Day weekend as state champions
Div. 5 softball: Turners Falls blanks Georgetown 5-0, captures MIAA-record 11th state championship in program history (PHOTOS)
In new hands, Green River Festival returns with headliners CAKE, Fleet Foxes and Gregory Alan Isakov
Mutton and Mead organizers chart new course with ‘Roads to Revelry’

Special teams was the difference maker for the Wolverines. Michigan scored three power play goals on five opportunities, and the lack of discipline is starting to become a trend for UMass after they took a handful of penalties against both AIC and in an exhibition game against Dartmouth. 

“Michigan, they don’t need a lot to score and that was the case tonight,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel said. “Talented team. You give them too many power plays and too much space and they’re gonna score. I thought that was a big part of it.” 

64 seconds after Hughes’ goal the Wolverines struck again, this time on a goal from Garrett Schifsky. Jackson Hallum carried the puck into the Michigan offensive zone and dished to a streaking Shifsky, who ripped a wrister from the left point that beat Brady to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left. 

Michigan made it 3-0 early in the second on a goal from Duke, but UMass answered back quickly to get on the board and keep the game within reach. The Minutemen broke up a tic-tac-toe pass Michigan was trying to execute and sprung Jack Musa and Aaron Bohlinger up the ice. Musa dished a pass over to Bohlinger, who sent the puck past a diving Barczewski to make it 3-1. 

After the initial burst of offense the home team had in the first period, the Minutemen struggled to get pucks on net. They had just four shots on goal in the second period to Michigan’s 11, though Carvel said he liked the number of scoring opportunities they had even if the puck didn’t end up on net. 

After Bohlinger’s goal, Schifsky notched his second of the game with 9:57 left in the game, and Michigan scored again 35 seconds later on their second power play goal of the night for their fourth goal. With Ryan Ufko in the box for holding, the Wolverines needed just 10 seconds with the man advantage to make it 5-1 on a Seamus Casey power play goal, and Duke notched another power play goal just under two minutes into the third frame. 

Scott Morrow gave UMass a power play goal late in the third, scoring off assists from Aydar Suniev, his first point with UMass, and Jack Musa, but it was too little, too late. Rutger McGroarty scored the seventh goal for Michigan less than two minutes after Morrow’s goal. 

Despite the defeat, Carvel was hopeful in his postgame press conference. This is a team the head coach knows has a lot of potential, and the season is still early. 

“For what the score ended up, there was a lot about the game that I liked. There’s a lot there that makes me want to believe in this team,” Carvel said. “The score looks ugly, but I didn’t think the game was that lopsided.” 

Hannah Bevis can be reached at hbevis@gazettenet.com. Follow her on Twitter @Hannah_Bevis1.