BELFAST, Northern Ireland - No. 17 Massachusetts Hockey erased one-goal deficits on two occasions and earned a hard-fought 2-2 tie against No. 4 Qunnipiac, but the Bobcats won the shootout, 1-0 to claim the Belpot Trophy in the Friendship Four Championship game at SSE Arena on Saturday night. UMass now sits at 7-5-2 on the year, while Quinnipiac is 10-1-3.
"It was a really good hockey game between two good teams," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "Our start could have been a little better, but I was really happy with the last two periods. We hit the bar in overtime. I hate to see games go to shootouts, I don't think anything should be decided by a shootout but I'm in the minority on that. The last two periods I think were really gritty by our team. The ice was terrible, which made for a different kind of game, but our guys found a way to score late to tie the game up, another example of good character of the team. To me it was a really solid weekend, we played two really good opponents and showed ourselves really well."
The Bobcats opened the scoring with a power-play goal at the 5:35 mark of the first period. Ethan de Jong lifted a backhander past Luke Pavicich from the slot after collecting the puck from Collin Graf and Zach Metsa.
At the 5:12 mark in the third, the Minutemen managed to level the score. Freshman Kenny Connors picked up a pass from classmate Cole O'Hara and sent the puck ahead to sophomore Taylor Makar who found himself in alone on the goaltender Yaniv Perets for the finish.
Quinnipiac pulled ahead once more at the 15:46 mark, converting with the man advantage for a second time on the evening. Skyler Brind'Amour redirected in a feed from Graf and Metsa at the top of the UMass crease.
Just 31 seconds later, Massachusetts responded with the equalizer. Scott Morrow rocketed an attempt towards goal, that was turned aside by Perets, but freshman Michael Cameron came streaking down the opposite wing to bury the rebound at the 16:17 mark. Aaron Bohlinger earned an assist on the play, as well.
Both teams had opportunities in overtime, including a shot that Morrow rang off the Quinnipiac iron, but the contest went to a best-of-three shootout that saw Cristophe Teller net the only goal.
The Bobcats ended the night with a 33-23 shot advantage and were 2-for-3 on the power play, while UMass was 0-for-1.
Pavicich finished the contest with 31 stops for Massachusetts and Perets recorded 21 saves for Quinnipiac.
The Minutemen will return to the Mullins Center to host #14/13 UMass Lowell next Saturday, December 3, at 7 p.m.