Men's hockey falls to No. 12 UMass Boston in 2017 opener

Men's hockey falls to No. 12 UMass Boston in 2017 opener

BOSTON, Mass.CJ Blaszka and Trey Aiello scored for the Saint Anselm College men's hockey team but No. 12 UMass Boston got four goals and an assist from Colin Larkin to down the Hawks 5-2 on Friday night in New England Hockey Conference play at Edward T. Barry Ice Rink.

Box Score

Larkin scored twice in the opening period and once in each of the final two periods for UMass Boston (8-4-2, 3-3-1 NEHC) to bring his conference-leading goal total to 15. Ryan Cusin added a goal and three assists, while Nolan Redler and Tyler Bishop each had two helpers for the Beacons. Blaszka brought Saint Anselm (6-6-1, 3-5-0 NEHC) within a goal early in the second but UMass Boston grabbed the next two goals to re-establish a cushion.

In addition to the goals from Blaszka and Aiello, Peter Sikalis had a pair of assists, giving him seven points in his last eight games. Nick Gorski and Jon Pallotta also recorded assists for the Hawks.

After Brendon Kerrigan and Blaszka fired just wide in the opening 10 minutes, UMass Boston opened the scoring at 9:32 of the first when Larkin scored on a backhand on a 2-on-1 Larkin added his second of the opening period with 51 seconds remaining in the frame as he tipped in a shot by Bishop to send the Beacons to the break up by a pair.

Between Larkin's two goals, Bailie MacBurnie produced a reflex save to deny Kerrigan a tying goal on a one-timer after Vin D'Amato found Kerrigan in front from the right boards. Earlier, Colin Soucy stopped a Cody Wickline backhand in a 1-on-1 not long after Larkin's opener.

The Hawks started the second period on the front foot and were rewarded just 1:49 in when Blaszka collected a loose puck and fired it into the roof of the net on a 4-on-4 opportunity. However, Larkin completed his hat trick at 4:31 to put the Beacons back up by two, as he put home a rebound off a Bishop shot from the left point.

UMass Boston took a three-goal advantage at 12:44 of the second when Cusin got the puck behind the net, turned and scored into an open net. Shane Joyce came on for Soucy following the goal and made two big saves, including one to deny Larkin a fourth goal, late in the period.

The Beacons continued to lead 4-1 until the teams traded goals 10 seconds apart inside the final five minutes. At 15:09, Aiello collected a rebound off his initial shot and fired it under the bar to get the Hawks within two, but Larkin scored his fourth of the night 10 seconds later to reclaim a three-goal lead for the hosts. Aiello's goal was his team-high seventh of the season.

Trailing by three in the final minutes, UMass Boston took two late penalties and Saint Anselm pulled Joyce to have a brief three-man advantage in search of a way back but the Beacons maintained the 5-2 lead. Bailey MacBurnie made 34 saves in his debut for UMass Boston.

The Beacons held a slender 37-36 edge in shots in the game. Soucy stopped 20 shots for the Hawks in 32:44, while Joyce made 12 saves over 23:31 in net.

Saint Anselm concludes its weekend road trip at Babson on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 4 p.m.

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