Beavers Can Clinch Share of NEHC Regular Season Title with Win Over Beacons in Saturday's Regular Season Finale
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Babson College scored once in each period and got 39 saves from senior goaltender Bryan Botcher (Mequon, Wis.) to stay alive in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) regular season title race with a 3-0 win over No. 7 USCHO.com/No. 8 D3hockey.com UMass Boston on Friday night inside the Babson Skating Center.
Babson, which improves to 16-5-5 overall and 11-3-3 in league play, and UMass Boston will play again in the regular season finale on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Beavers can clinch a share of the NEHC title with a win, while the Beacons (17-6-1, 13-3-1) need just a tie to grab the outright crown and the top seed in the upcoming conference tournament.
Sophomore Patrick Flynn (Framingham, Mass.) and first-years Mike Egan (Billerica, Mass.) and Ryan Black (Pomfret, Conn.) each had a goal for the Beavers. Egan, senior Tommy Munichiello (Weymouth, Mass.), junior Ryan McDougall (Milton, Mass.) and sophomore Nick Rosa (Birmingham, Mich.) all recorded one assist in the victory.
Junior netminder Bailey MacBurnie (Beverly, Mass.) turned away 21 shots for the Beacons, who were blanked for just the second time this season.
Egan gave the Green and White a 1-0 lead just 3:06 into the contest when he gained control of a loose puck just inside the blue line and rifled a shot past MacBurnie from the right face-off circle for his 12th goal of the season. UMass Boston killed off a cross-checking minor midway through the first thanks to a pair of terrific saves by MacBurnie, but the Beavers doubled their advantage on a power play tally by Flynn 6:53 into the second period.
Flynn took a centering feed from Munichiello, eluded a defender, and ripped a low shot inside the left post for his eighth goal of the year. Babson's had an opportunity extend the lead further less than three minutes from the second intermission, but MacBurnie stopped back-to-back shots by sophomore Christian Faggas (Norwood, Mass.) to keep the margin at two.
The Beacons outshot the hosts 13-5 over the final 20 minutes but were unable to solve Botcher, who made a sprawling stop on first-year Ethan Nitkin (Miami Beach, Fla.) and followed it up with a pad save on the rebound less than two minutes into the third. The Green and White put the game with 1:46 to go when Black scored an empty netter from center ice after blocking a shot and taking a breakout pass from Egan.
UMass Boston finished with a 39-24 edge in shots but were 0-for-1 on the power play. The Beavers scored once on their four power play chances.
• Babson is now 46-18-6 all-time against the Beacons.
• Friday's shutout was the third of Botcher's career and the program's first since a 2-0 win over Southern Maine on January 20, 2018.
• Friday's win marked the final regular season home game for Botcher, Munichiello and fellow seniors Matt Brazel (Hingham, Mass.), Stevie DeForge (Norwood, Mass.), Matt Michalke (Parma, Ohio) and Matt Pompa (Palm City, Fla.). The Beavers' six-man senior class has gone 65-29-9 since arriving on campus in 2015, which includes a 37-10-4 record at home.
• Babson is 11-0-2 this winter and unbeaten over its last 23 games when holding the opposition to two goals or less.