Preview ▲ UMass, AIC To Meet Tuesday At MassMutual Center

Massachusetts Minutemen 7-17-4 (2-12-4) Hockey East 12th

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AIC Yellow Jackets 5-22-2 (5-16-2) Atlantic Hockey T-10th

 

UMass hockey’s best chance to break their current 10 game losing streak will take place tomorrow night as they’ll take the short ride down I-91 to face AIC at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.  The Yellow Jackets have one of the lowest win totals in all college hockey with five and are currently dead last in the KRACH ratings, even behind first year program Arizona State.  UMass’ skill differential should mean they’ll win easily.  But the Minutemen lost to this AIC program just two years ago, so obviously they should not overlook their Western Mass neighbors.

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Recap ▲ Dismal Start Dooms Minutemen In 6-3 Loss to #9 BU

The Massachusetts Minutemen were looking to put together a much better result against the 9th ranked Boston University Terriers than when the teams first met last month.  In that game UMass hung tough with the Terriers for half the game before being overwhelmed by BU’s superior skill, losing 7-2.  The Minutemen were not in last night’s game nearly as long as BU scored in the opening minute and built a three goal lead by the five minute mark, ultimately winning 6-3.

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Preview ▲ #9 Terriers Travel To Amherst To Face UMass

Boston University Terriers 15-7-4 (8-4-3) T-4th Hockey East

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Massachusetts Minutemen 7-16-4 (2-11-4) 12th Hockey East

When the schedule first came out this five game homestand for the Minutemen, though against some challenging opponents, seemed like a good jumping off point into the final stretch of the season.  Instead it’s been a disaster.  It kicked off with a 8-0 beatdown by Boston College that saw Jerry York etch his 1000th win.  The next night UMass surrendered a two goal lead in the third period to lose 6-4 to Vermont.  Last weekend really seemed like the best chance for the team to get back on track with last place Maine coming to town without a single win away from Alfond Arena on their resume.  Instead UMass got swept and now find themselves in last place in Hockey East.  The home stretch ends Friday with a game against #9 Boston University and UMass will have to play considerably better than they have in months if they want to get the win.

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View From Section U ▲ Potential Coaching Replacements

Ever since I wrote my piece stating that UMass needs to making a coaching change at the end of the season I’ve had many people ask who would be my potential candidates to lead the program to success.  There are a few prospects that immediately come to mind.  There are a few that I wish they had looked at the last time around when the coaching position was open in 2012 and either they weren’t interested, then Athletic Director John McCutcheon didn’t consider them, or the timing just wasn’t right for either side.  I’ve already heard a lot of suggestions from readers and fans on who should be considered and I’ve done my best to take them into account.

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Recruit Update ▲ Hildenbrand Traded To Fargo

It’s been a busy time for UMass’ most recent commit.  Just a week after Niko Hildenbrand announced his intentions to play in Amherst he was traded from the Waterloo Blackhawks to the Fargo Force.  He was traded with a draft pick for North Dakota commit Zach Yon.

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Recap ▲ Maine Sweeps UMass Into The Hockey East Basement

Even when the Massachusetts season started its downward turn and more recently when the team dropped games to Boston University and Boston College by the scores of 7-2 and 8-0, I still felt confident that the team would at least be able to get one conference win when Maine visited this weekend.  After all, Maine is one of the worst teams in the country.  In addition having one of the most ineffective offenses in college hockey this Black bear team had won exactly zero games away from Alfond Arena.  So it seemed logical that at worst UMass would manage a split.  But for the second night in a row Maine dominated in terms of possession and grabbed the narrow 5-4 win.  The sweep at the hands of the Black Bears means the Minutemen are now in sole possession of last place in Hockey East.

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Recap ▲ UMass Falls 5-2, Hands Maine Their First Road Win Of Season

This weekend’s series against last place Maine appeared to be an ideal opportunity for the Minutemen to gain valuable Hockey East points, grab their first Hockey East win since early November, and create some momentum heading into the final stretch of the season.  They may still achieve some of those goals with a win tonight.  But UMass kicked off the weekend with an incredibly disappointing 5-2 loss to the Black Bears that made official the fact that the season has become nothing short of a train-wreck.

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Preview ▲ Four Hockey East Points On The Line As Maine Visits UMass

Maine Black Bears 5-15-6 (2-8-2) Hockey East 12th

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Massachusetts Minutemen 7-14-4 (2-9-4) Hockey East T-10th

The Massachusetts hockey team last gained a league point on 11/21 with a tie against Merrimack.  They have lost their last seven Hockey East games since and have been unable to make any headway in the conference standings.  The last place Maine Black Bears coming to the Mullins Center for two games represents UMass’ best chance to get a win since facing Army to begin the calendar year.  There are a lot of factors that favor the Minutemen in this matchup, but Maine should not be overlooked.  We’ve learned the hard way in recent years that nothing should be taken for granted with this UMass team.

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Recruit Update ▲ Hildenbrand Commits To UMass

The Massachusetts hockey team picked up a commitment from forward Niko Hildenbrand.  The right shot, 1995 birth year plays forward for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL.  The Vacaville, CA native is 5’11” and weighs 194 lbs.

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Weekend Wrap-around ▲ UMass Drops To 10th Place In Hockey East

Another weekend without gaining any points has put the Massachusetts hockey team in a precarious position with just a few weeks left in the season.  It also sets up an interesting matchup this weekend as the Maine Black Bears come to town currently inhabiting last place, but are just two points behind the Minutemen.

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