UMass hockey: Michael Hrabal (35 saves) rises to the occasion again as Minutemen finish sweep of UConn via 3-1 win

Michael Hrabal and the UMass hockey team picked up a weekend sweep over UConn.

Michael Hrabal and the UMass hockey team picked up a weekend sweep over UConn. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Reports

Published: 02-11-2024 11:14 AM

With a series against the No. 1 team in the country on deck, the UMass hockey team took care of business over the weekend.

After a win on the road Friday night, the Minutemen capped a weekend sweep of UConn with a 3-1 victory on Saturday at the Mullins Center in Amherst.

UMass improved to 16-7-3 overall, 9-5-2 in Hockey East action. The Minutemen will play No. 1 Boston College next weekend, with a home game at the Mullins Center on Friday night before the return game at Conte Forum on Sunday at 1 p.m.

“There are no easy games in our league and sweeps are really hard to come by,” said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. “I'm very proud of our team and our effort. It was a really solid game again.”

UMass freshman goalie Michael Hrabal capped one of his best weekends with the program, making 35 saves to earn the win. He pitched a shutout in the team’s 2-0 win on Friday night, allowing just one goal across 120 minutes of game action versus the Huskies (12-15-2, 7-11-1).

“Our defensive game continues to be getting tighter and stronger,” Carvel said. “A big part of that is Michael Hrabal. Michael is really starting to look comfortable in the net. When you go to World Juniors, it takes a lot out of you, and I knew it would take a little time for him and Dans Locmelis to get back up to speed but it sure looks like Michael is getting there.”

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UMass took a 1-0 lead in the first period when Cam O’Neill scored with assists from Samuli Niinisaari and Scott Morrow.

Aydar Suniev doubled the advantage in the second period, making it a 2-0 game when he tallied with assists from Morrow and Lucas Mercuri.

Ryan Tattle answered for UConn with a goal midway through the second period, but the Minutemen re-established their two-goal cushion less than two minutes later with a Cole O’Hara strike for a 3-1 advantage. Kenny Connors and Jack Musa were credited with assists on O’Hara’s goal.

UConn held a 37-27 edge in shots on goal, but Hrabal’s heroics lifted the Minutemen to their fourth win in five games.

“Really, I like our group right now,” Carvel said. “We've got four solid lines, we're solid in the back end and our goaltender is playing exceptional hockey."