The worry that a challenging schedule would result in a slow start in Hockey East play for UMass is now a reality. Through three games the team has three losses and finds itself tied with Maine for last place, already five points out of home ice. More than the losses themselves though is how the team has lost. In two of the games, last week against Boston College and last night against Boston University, UMass gave up a multiple goal lead at home and allowed their opponent to claim victory with a late score. This team is falling apart in the third period of games. Is it conditioning? Is it conservative game planning? Is it a lack of mental toughness? It’s amazing to see that out of the 14 goals UMass have given up this season only one has come in the first period. Nine however have come after the second period.
With the weekend sweep at the hands of the Terriers and last week’s defeat against BC UMass falls to 0-3-0 versus two teams that they went 3-2-1 against in the regular season last year. Carrying over a theme from yesterday’s post, UMass’ experience was supposed to give them an advantage in games like this. Instead they were defeated for the second straight night by a freshman goaltender, allowed freshman Danny O’Regan to have another multi-point game, and it was the Minutemen who looked inexperienced as they gave up another lead late.
There were some positives last night. Shane Walsh moved up to a line with Mike Pereira and Brendan Gracel and picked up his first career goal by taking a Conor Sheary feed and getting it between Matt O’Connor and the post. Walsh was probably the best all around player for the Minutemen this weekend in my opinion. Overall I thought the new top lines which also included Rocco Carzo, Steven Guzzo, and Conor Sheary, played well together. UMass generated 36 shots with last night’s lines. Rocco Carzo had a very good game, more on that later. Kevin Boyle played well, making his first start since the season opener. He ended up with 32 saves and on the last two goals the guys in front of him allowed BU to skate in untouched.
UMass must spend this week finding whatever it is that will allow them to hold late leads. Again, things do not get any easier for the Minutemen. On Friday a New Hampshire team that has yet to lose this season visits the Mullins Center. Despite a scoreless tie last night the Wildcats are still scoring 3.40 goals a game. UMass will then have to visit Boston College on Sunday afternoon. Who knows what will happen against two such formidable opponents next week but we do know that another pointless weekend will sink UMass further in the Hockey East standings.
Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Rocco Carzo
Carzo showed both aspects of his two way game early in the second period when he took the puck away from a Terrier at the blueline and streaked into the BU zone. Coming in all alone on O’Connor Carzo would get tripped from behind by Garrett Noonan setting up a penalty shot. He’d then make it look easy coming in and scoring on the Terrier goaltender. That was the highlight of the night for Carzo but he played very well throughout, even leading the team with three blocked shots and four total shots.
Dick Baker has the game story for the Republican, noting that Carzo’s penalty shot goal was the first for UMass since Jeff Turner scored one in 2000. Here are Baker’s game notes. Baker mentions that the UMass Marching Band was there to do the national anthem, which sounded great. But of course then they left immediately afterward. The fact that this program is not supported with a hockey band is mind-boggling to me. Want to clean up the students’ chants? A band is the first step to do so and will do a lot more than hanging posters on every door asking them to “Keep It Classy”.
The Collegian has their coverage of the sweep by BU.