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Saturday Recap

Another solid game by the Minutemen but unfortunately another tight loss.  UMass has now lost four straight games, all to top 5 teams, by the margin of one goal.  It seems that they’re getting close to being a good team, but obviously not close enough.  Though Boston College swept the season series, UMass played them tough for 8 of the 9 periods they played.  Only the third period of the meeting earlier this month at Conte Forum did the Minutemen look completely overmatched.  Hopefully it bodes well for the future that this team full of freshmen played so well against one of the favorites for the national championship.

The difference last night was penalties.  UMass took way too many of them.  It’s tough enough to generate offense against this Eagle team, but even tougher when you’re constantly killing penalties.  The penalty kill did play very well, only giving up one power play goal on 7 opportunities, but the constant line of guys going to the box made it extremely challenging to come back after BC went up by 2.   UMass was down a man for nearly 10 minutes of game time.

It was good to see the team improve on their dismal faceoff performance the night before, winning 31 of 65.  Anthony Raiola had a very good night and is making the case to be an every day player next year after Doug Kublin graduates.  He had an excellent pass which set up T.J. Syner’s goal.

Overall the team did what I had hoped they would for the weekend, even though they weren’t able to pick up any points.  But they did play well and they played consistently throughout both games.  There were no dropoffs in effort or execution which haunted them for most of the season.  These games against top teams has shown that the team is making some progress.  Just how much progress they’ve made and if they can turn that progress into wins will be seen next weekend when they have to face a suddenly dominating Maine team.  The Black Bears swept Merrimack by a combined score of 11-1 over the weekend and are battling for home ice.  But UMass has something to play for as well and with Providence and Vermont losing last night they control their own destiny.  For UMass, the playoffs start this coming weekend.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Paul Dainton
Dainton and his 36 saves helped UMass stay in the game and have something to play for at the end.  Dainton is playing some of the best goaltending of his career here as his time at UMass winds down.

Jerry York says UMass helped create a playoff atmosphere for BC this weekend in the Boston Globe.

Dick Baker has the recap for the Republican.

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7 Comments

  1. Much as I hate BC, once again Jerry York shows he’s a true class act. It doesn’t hurt that the BC-BU rivalry gives him a polar-opposite counterpart in Jack Parker.

    • Agreed. Jerry York is one of the best people in sports.

      On Friday I thought he’d come into the postgame press conference frustrated that his #2 team let a rebuilding UMass team back in the game and almost let in the tying goal. Instead he heaped praise on the Minutemen and Mullins crowd. Also instead of sitting behind the table they have set up there at the conference, instead he just sat on the edge of the table in front of the reporters gathered there. Much more informal and engaging, like he was just there to chat.

      He and Luis Tiant are by far the nicest people in sports I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet.

  2. Anonymous

     /  February 28, 2011

    that really doesnt help me rocks when I hate all things BC.

    (he does seem like a solid guy though, unlike the rest of the university.)

    pompous assbags.

    • I hear you. It kills me too. Though I try to keep it off the blog I’m one of the biggest BC haters around. York makes it tough to root against those guys as passionately as I’d like to (but I find a way).

      If you want some more fodder against BC though I did see a group of “superfans” scream, “UMass Fa@&ot” at one of our student managers (or maybe even player) outside Conte Saturday.

      Stay classy, Boston College.

  3. Anonymous

     /  February 28, 2011

    I got all the fodder I needed after last years playoff loss when we were talking to a player and a group of BC students walked through all the parents and families and started chanting about how the Umass hockey season was over.

    definition of classless.

  4. Anonymous

     /  February 28, 2011

    while reading about all these one goal losses, I cant help but think how much last years defectors would have helped. With a finisher or two (not to mention solid pp guys) this team couldve made some noise this year. what a season it couldve been.

    • Likely. Though if Irwin doesn’t leave UMass might not pick up Phillips, who committed in June. Maybe the same goes for Gracel who was a late pickup too, although I think the coaching staff had been watching him for a while. But the prospect of James Marcou in the mix with guys like Gracel and Sheary is certainly appealling. It’s tough to project what Wellman would’ve done just because he didn’t seem like he wanted to be here for the last two months of the season.

      Having a healthy Mike Lecomte for the entire season might’ve made a difference too. He probably would’ve knocked home a goal or two in at least a few of those one goal games.

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