WATERVILLE — There was no magic formula, no ‘Miracle On Ice’ pre-game speech, nothing different about the UMass Boston men’s ice hockey team’s warmup routine Saturday.

“We’re getting back to the simple — getting it deep, not screwing around with the puck, putting pucks on net, playing the right way,” said Beacons head coach Peter Belisle, whose team scored three goals inside the game’s first six minutes at Alfond Rink en route to a 6-3 non-conference win over Colby College.

“When we don’t get away from that, I think we can be successful.”

UMass Boston meets Bowdoin College in the second day of the Colby/Bowdoin Face-Off Classic on Sunday when the tournament moves to Brunswick’s Sid Watson Arena. Colby will play first-year varsity program Albertus Magnus in the other game, after the Falcons lost 6-0 to Bowdoin in Saturday’s opener at Alfond.

UMass Boston (5-3-0) got two goals apiece from Derek Caruso and Ethan Nitkin, including Caruso’s crucial second of the day in the final minute of the second period, to breeze past the Mules (2-3-0).

“We were lucky enough to pot our chances,” Belisle said. “We created the chances, so I’m proud of the guys, and then they buried the chances. That doesn’t always happen when you play the right way, but we were able to actually get rewarded for them which was nice.”


Fans were still settling into their seats by the time the Beacons had already opened a 3-0 lead. Chris Peters (2:54 into the first), Nitkin (4:33) and Caruso (5:58) all cashed in on chances as UMass Boston swarmed the Colby zone in waves.

It was exactly the kind of start the Beacons were looking for following a loss at Norwich last weekend, said senior captain and Maine native Dakota Keene.

“I think it was just the energy we brought from within,” said Keene, of Poland, who finished with two assists. “We’ve always been more of a physical team than a lot of the NESCAC schools, and we knew we could take that to our advantage right off the start. That’s what we did. We came out physical, hard on the forechecks, and started burying our chances.”

“You can’t start a game like that,” said Colby coach Blaise MacDonald. “It’s just unacceptable. At the end of the day, that’s the bottom line. … It has zero to do with the scoreboard. It has everything to do with our effort, compete, battle, playing with a calloused mindset. That’s what disappointed me — we didn’t have any of those things.”

To Colby’s credit, the Mules picked things up in the second, first getting on the board via Velan Nandhakumaran’s power-play goal at the 9:34 mark. Just over seven minutes later, Logan Clarke sniped one from just inside the left circle after a clever transition delay at the offensive blue line to make it 3-2.

Colby had a chance to tie the game with a power play late, but that man-advantage failed to produce a shot on goal. Caruso then struck for his second — and a dagger to the Mules’ comeback hopes — with 41.7 seconds left in the second, following up two close-range Andrew Tucci stops (17 saves) to punch home the Beacons’ second rebound chance.


“It was justice for them,” MacDonald said. “We deserved what we got there.”

“That’s a tough way to go into intermission,” said Colby senior Rob Cerepak. “In the second period I felt like we came out flying and really responded after being woken up in the first, but that was a backbreaker coming into the locker room another goal down.”

The Mules, who lost junior center Spencer Hewson to injury in the middle stanza, never recovered.

Nitkin made it 5-2 less than five minutes into the third period, and Nolan Redler’s power-play goal at 9:35 made it a 6-2 lead. Redler finished with a three-point night.

Only Jacob Thousand’s goal with under six minutes to play offered any signs of life from Colby — which had fewer than 19 hours before the puck drop on Sunday afternoon.

“Show up on time. Just chip away,” MacDonald said of what he wants to see against Albertus Magnus. “You don’t fix things overnight, but we’ve got to focus on the controllables, as they say. How’s your effort? How’s your preparation? Where’s your mindset? Are you going to be the hardest working guy? Are you going to out-compete the guy you’re playing against? It’s simple things.”

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