WATERVILLE — Opportunities came knocking, and the team that’s already hitting its midseason stride didn’t pass them up.

No. 9 UMass Boston got a hat trick from sophomore Nolan Redler and a 35-save performance from Bailey MacBurnie on Saturday afternoon, and the Beacons cruised to their sixth straight win, 5-1, over Colby College at Alfond Rink on the first day of the Bowdoin/Colby Face-Off Classic.

Bowdoin beat St. Anselm 6-1 in the early game. The tournament moves to Brunswick on Sunday, where Bowdoin hosts UMass Boston and Colby plays St. Anselm.

“We were just really opportunistic,” said Beacon senior Colin Larkin, a 2017 finalist for the Sid Watson Award, given annually to the best NCAA Division III player nationally. “We scored on the plays that maybe shouldn’t have gone in, but we got the pucks to the net and we got rebound goals. We were really opportunistic on our chances, that that was the difference today.”

Larkin’s line was a force to be reckoned with all afternoon, accounting for four goals for the Beacons (8-1-0). After a slow start to the first period, UMass Boston raced out to a 3-0 lead by the 12:50 mark of the second on Redler’s second goal of the day.

It came when Colby defenseman Dan Dupont was caught up ice on a promising rush for the Mules (1-2-0), only to see that bid devolve into an odd-man rush the other way. Redler was there for the rebound of a Jack Riley (two assists) shot.

There were several occasions from which Colby could have produced goals, but a whiffed shot at an open net or an untimely post kept the Mules from getting themselves righted against a big deficit.

“We’ve just got to bring more energy, from top to bottom,” Dupont said. “We left a few guys open in our zone. … Definitely, it was a frustrating day. Fortunately, it’s a quick turnaround for (Sunday) and we don’t have much time to think about it.”

Colby appeared to have life when senior center Phil Klitirinos scored with under three minutes remaining in the second period, collecting a nice aerial chip from linemate Michael Rudolf to clear the zone up the right wing boards. Klitirinos opted for the shot, and beat MacBurnie with a wrister from the right circle for his first of the season.

But the Beacons answered with a 4-on-4 goal just nine seconds from the intermission, when Larkin was given far too much room on a rebound after winning another offensive zone draw, and the lead was back to three goals at 4-1.

“As a coach, that’s what you preach, to try and get those dirty, gritty goals,” UMass Boston coach Peter Belisle said. “We were able to do that.”

Redler finished off his hat trick at 12:33 of the final period, when UMass Boston broke down the Mules defensively for a third time following a faceoff. Redler’s 11 goals this season pace the Beacons, while Larkin and Zack Bross — the other two-thirds of that line — are also among the team’s most productive statistically.

“We’re a big team,” said Larkin, who ranks 10th all-time in UMass Boston history with 48-68-116 points in 93 career games. “When we’re moving our feet, we’re a pretty scary team, as well. We can play the body, we can play in different ways and we have a lot of skill. It’s encouraging, but if we’re not moving our feet we’re not a very good team.”

At the other end of the ice, MacBurnie made sure than any promising Colby developments were snuffed out. The 6-foot-2 netminder from Sacred Heart University made all of his saves look easy and his rebound control limited second-chance opportunities for the Mules to nearly none.

“We gave (MacBurnie) the belt for the player of the game today. He was our best player, no question,” Belisle said. “When we weren’t sharp, he was sharp. He’s been our best player (this season). A good goalie makes a good coach, right?”

For a Colby team that has only one full weekend of play behind it this season, Mules coach Blaise MacDonald was willing to look at the bigger picture.

“At times I really liked our game, I thought we created some offense, but early on (in the season) against the ninth-ranked team — they’ve played (nine) games and this is only our second weekend,” MacDonald said. “There’s winning and learning, so we’ve got to learn from that. We had a few guys not play particularly well, so we’ve got to fix some of those issues.”

Sophomore netminder Andrew Tucci made 31 saves for Colby.

“(Colby) had a lot of 3-on-2s, and I thought if they had capitalized early it could have been a very different hockey game,” Belisle said. “We were opportunistic on our chances, but I thought they gave us some fits. If they would have potted one, it could have changed the whole complexion of the game. That’s a good hockey team over there.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC