Boston College’s 6-0 season-opening win made the January rematch against Massachusetts at Conte Forum look like an easy one to skip. But the Minutemen made it a contest worth watching with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory.
“Anytime you can come into Boston College and get a win, its critical,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “It’s a real good thing for our program.”
Chris Capraro scored his second game winner of the year at 15:45 of the third period to even UMass’ conference record at 5-5 (11-7-1 overall). The Eagles dropped their third conference game and stand at 10-5-3, 6-3-1 Hockey East.
Capraro, a Beantown native and former Austin Prep standout, one-timed a pass from linemate Mike Warner on a two-on-one to clinch the victory in front of a native crowd.
“I enjoy coming here to play,” Capraro said. “I just saw Mikey spring open and I knew he was going to shoot it or pass it. He gave me a nice pass and I just one-timed it up top.”
The goal followed a flurry of chances by UMass on the power play. Moments earlier Matt Anderson had lifted a shot just over the net from the slot and Nick Kuiper had blasted the ensuing rebound off the inside of the post.
“At that point you’re just dying for the puck to go in,” Cahoon said.
Freshman goalie Gabe Winer (21 saves) made eight stops in the third period, including a game-saving stick save off a Ned Havern one-timer from the doorstep.
“Gabe played really well down the stretch,” Cahoon said. “He made some big saves for us.”
Kaltiainen went save for save with Winer, stopping 26 shots, including 12 in the middle period.
“Both teams got good goaltending,” B.C. coach Jerry York said. “The goaltending was outstanding. For Matti, this is back-to-back very impressive performances.”
The Eagles looked like they had secured the outcome when Anthony D’Arpino scored his second goal of the year at 5:13 of the second period. Justin Dziama controlled the puck behind the net before feeding D’Arpino for a one-timer and the two-goal lead.
Havern followed the goal with a breakaway chance on Gabe Winer, feigning a deke before firing a shot glove-side that Winer snagged.
But BC’s second marker and Winer’s save seemed to light a fire under the Minutemen, who began to pressure the Eagle zone.
“Two-goal leads, everybody says are the most dangerous leads in hockey,” D’Arpino said. “We got relaxed and we thought we were going to get more scoring chances.”
“A few big saves and a few big hits really got us going,” Capraro said. It started with a sterling shift from UMass’ top line of Capraro, Warner and Tim Turner.
On a three-on-two Capraro skated down the right wing and fed Warner in the slot for a wrist shot that Kaltiainen engulfed.
Moments later a Turner shot rebounded to Thomas Pock who lifted the puck over a sprawled Kaltiainen and the crossbar.
UMass finally solved the sophomore goalie on another three-on-two chance at 12:50 of the second. Matt Anderson held on the right faceoff circle before feeding Thomas Pock in the slot for the goal.
Pock’s seventh of the year made the score 2-1, but UMass did not relent. The Minutemen tied the game just under four minutes later on the power play. Anderson worked his magic again, this time feeding Greg Mauldin at the left faceoff circle for a quick wrist shot past a diving Kaltiainen.
“That was a critical point in the game,” Cahoon said. “That power play goal that Mauldin scored was critical. It cut the game down to 20 minutes.”
“I thought their ability to score on the power play in was what hurt us,” York said.
The Minutemen’s power-play goals in the each of the last two periods came after their special teams backfired in the first 20 minutes. After failing to register a scoring chance on its first man advantage, UMass found itself the victim of a shorthanded goal on its second power play.
Ryan Murphy made a steal at his own blue line before spotting a streaking Dave Spina. His pass was intercepted by Pock, who cleared the puck into Spina’s grasp, springing him in on Winer. Spina baited the freshman near post before shelfing a wrist shot to the far side.
UMass, still on the power play, tried to answer moments later. Pock received a pass from Capraro at the left circle and fired a shot through a screen, but Kaltiainen smothered the bid.
Boston College was at a severe disadvantage in the third period, when forwards Ben Eaves and Chris Collins were unavailable due to injury. York dressed only eight forwards and with Eaves (sent to the hospital for X-rays after the second) and Collins out, the Eagles were forced to rotate only three forward lines.
The UMass win breaks a five-game series win streak for the Eagles and pushes the BC all-time advantage to 25-5-1.