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Recap: Vermont Completes the Pre-Thanksgiving Sweep With A 3-1 Win

The collective groan from Massachusetts hockey fans across the Commonwealth was nearly audible when Catamount Colin Markinson put home a Henry Dill rebound just 47 seconds into tonight’s game.  At the time it seemed more like UVM had just gone up 15 to 1 coming out of some never ending intermission from last Saturday instead of having taken a quick lead in the annual Thanksgiving Tuesday game between these two traditional foes.  Surely, most thought, that immediate goal would lead to an avalanche of others and the Minutemen would be embarrassed like they were on Saturday, but this time in front of an international TV audience.

But, a funny thing happened to that expected narrative.  It didn’t happen.  UMass would end up putting in a pretty solid first period in the final 19 minutes and at the end of 1 the score was still 1-0 and the Minutemen were still in it.  For the majority of the frame in fact they were the better team.  The Catamounts would gain the better team title in the second and extend their lead to 3-0 by the end of two.  But UMass hung in there, played fairly well in the third, got a token goal in the final seconds of the game, and left Gutterson with a 3-1 loss over the #13 team in the country.  Is that good?  Is it bad?  I think we can agree it was eons better than Saturday.  Should we have expected them to win?  Doubtful.  Should we be happy?  I don’t think so.  But, we didn’t see a repeat of the lack of effort and pride that punctuated Saturday, so I guess we can call it progress.

In terms of the positives to take away from tonight it’s probably more just in terms of the effort.  There were times where the team looked a little disinterested, but for the most time their focus stayed on the game and they did their best to stay in it.  They didn’t let the game get out of hand.  It was good to see Dennis Kravchenko get the late, though meaningless, goal after being held without a shot on goal last weekend.  He played much better and got some praise from Tom Caron and Billy Jaffe during the broadcast.

There were more negatives on the night, as you’d expect during a loss.  While the team matched Vermont’s shot total with 28, they really needed to get more creative and challenging if they were going to win this game.  The Vermont defense and Brody Hoffman are just too good to take lazy shots from the top of the slot or the point.  UMass desperately needed to recapture some of that creative passing that made the NCAA highlights against Michigan State, getting the goaltender moving side to side across his crease.  That didn’t happen too much tonight.  The power play was pretty disappointing, going 0 for 4.  The team is 1 for 13 on the power play in the last three games.  The real killer on the power play was at the end of the second and beginning of the third when they had a two man advantage which would have instantly put them back in the game.  But they failed to score during that key opportunity.  Their penalty kill is struggling in the last three games as well, giving up six power play goals in 12 opportunities.  The defense has to improve.  There are still too many turnovers occurring in the defensive or neutral zone.  In fact Vermont’s first goal came directly off a missed clear by Patrick Lee.  Vermont’s second goal was due to the defensemen pinching too far in and Dill not being able to stop the quasi-breakaway.

UMass has another quick turnaround to deal with coming up.  After bussing home tonight they’ll enjoy a Thanksgiving in Amherst before playing a home and home with #14 Quinnipiac, starting in Connecticut on Friday.  UMass desperately needs some momentum from these games going into their two game series at home with Notre Dame.  The games against the Irish will represent the last chance to gain some much needed conference points before the end of the calendar year.  They didn’t get any points tonight, but at least the team tried to show that they were not going to repeat what transpired Saturday.  Tonight wasn’t that satisfying, but maybe the world isn’t ending either.  They got beat by a much better team.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Dennis Kravchenko
Kravchenko’s lack of offensive presence was sorely missed on Friday and Saturday so it was good to see him get back in the groove tonight, even if his goal didn’t come until the game had already been decided.  UMass is going to need consistent output from him if they want to reverse their fortunes going forward.

Game Highlights (sorry, won’t embed)

Recap and Box Score from UMass Athletics.

Collegian recap.

Recap from the Burlington Free Press.

UMass is at the bottom of the SBN College Hockey Hockey East Power Rankings.

Mike McMahon has updated his Hockey East Stat Pack (which got a shout out during tonight’s broadcast).  Not necessarily for the faint of heart.

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Recap: UMass Embarrassed By UVM 11-1

This blog is called Fear The Triangle.  The triangle is in reference to the odd looking jerseys that the Massachusetts hockey program wore in the 1990s when the program was restored.  The blog name is also supposed to be a way to call out how far the program has come since those triangle years when the team was regularly the doormat of Hockey East and rarely won.  It’s also a way to remember the unheralded players during that era that helped build the program to the point that it was competing for a Hockey East championship and NCAA tournament bids in the mid-2000s.  Ironically some of those triangle-era players were in town yesterday for UMass hockey alumni weekend and were on hand to witness the 11-1 shellacking the Minutemen took last night.

Those triangle teams suffered similar losses, though none quite as bad as last night.  Yes, those triangle teams were bad, but that was really due to talent disparity created when coach Joe Mallen was handed the task of taking a program from zero to Hockey East in less than a year and a half.  Despite the challenge of going up against the best programs in the country those teams tried and worked hard every night.  I experienced more lopsided losses from that time than I care to remember, but I don’t remember a lot of times, if at all, when those teams just flat out quit.

That’s what I saw last night though.  I team that gave up somewhere during the second period.  They quit and decided the game wasn’t worth their effort anymore.  I always try to avoid saying a team quit, because that’s something that’s not easily determined.  Lopsided losses happen for a variety of reasons.  I avoided saying it to describe the third period meltdown against BU to start the season because though they played horrible it still looked like they were trying.  Last night they stopped trying.  I’ve never seen players just stand in their own zone and let opponents skate by them without getting a body or stick on them and allow them to freely shoot upon their goalie.  That’s what happened for the final 30 minutes of last night’s game.  No effort.  No fight.  No pride.

The good news is the team won’t have long to sit and stew about last night’s embarrassment.  Not only do they play two days from now, but they have a chance of redemption against this same Catamount team.  If there is a lack of effort and fight in that game, then we have a serious problem with his hockey program.  If they fight hard and execute their game plan against the Catamounts then last night could be see as a turning point.  Everyone involved with this program (coaches, players, and administrators) should’ve woken up this morning and asked themselves “What can I do to assure that what happened last night never, ever happens again?”  What transpired last night was simply unacceptable.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game
Player of the game goes to any fan who attended last night’s debacle and still decides to attend another hockey game this season.

Recap & Box Score from UMass Athletics.

Game recap from the Collegian and this piece in which Micheletto apologized to the fans who attended.

USCHO game recap.

Burlington Free Press notes that this tied a 1979 Catamount record for most goals scored.

Recap: UMass falls to #12 Boston College 5-3

Last night’s game started very differently than when these two teams met last month and combined for zero goals and just nine shots in the first period.  Instead the Minutemen grabbed the lead right away, just 46 seconds into the game, and the UMass fans who got to the Mullins Center on time thought they just may get to witness an upset.  Instead the Eagles would clamp down defensively for most of the game, severely limit UMass’ chances, and roll to a 5-3 win.  The loss dropped UMass to 3-6-0 on the season and just 1-5-0 in Hockey East.

Ray Pigozzi got UMass on the board in the first minute of the game when Steven Iacobellis was able to feed the puck ahead to PIgozzi who split the defensemen and went in for the goal.  BC would control most of the rest of the period though and would get their first power play in 27 attempts with just under five minutes left on a Chris Calnan shot from the point.  BC would take the lead exactly one minute later when Marc Hetnik turned the puck over in the UMass zone and Cam Spiro skated in on goaltender Henry Dill and scored

The second was the lone period where UMass held a shot advantage during the game, outshooting the Eagles 7-4 due in part to a couple power plays during the frame.  But it would be BC who would score the only goal in the second.  A streaking Quinn Smith would skate into the UMass zone and have his shot deflect behind Dill after hitting a UMass skate.  The Minutemen would attempt to climb back into the game in the third, scoring two goals during the period.  But each UMass goal was quickly answered by an Eagle goal and some very poor defense ultimately led to the two goal final margin.  Four goals would be scored in a five minute span, starting with a power play deflection by Troy Power, his first goal of the season.  Calnan would score his fourth goal of the season against UMass just a few minutes later as the Eagles blew by the UMass defense on the rush.  Marc Hetnik would score 32 seconds after that to pull the Minutemen back within one goal again.  But Noah Hanfin extended the margin to two goals a couple minutes later.  BC would control possession for the remaindier of the game and the loss was in the books.

It was discouraging to see the improved UMass offense be so dominated last night.  The Minutemen were held to just 21 shots during the night, including only 5 during the third period when they were trying to make their comeback.  Dennis Kravchenko who had been very hot heading into the off week, did not register a single shot on goal in the game.  On defense UMass played very poorly as well.  The BC goals that negated UMass’ comeback in the third could’ve been prevented with better defensive coverage.  Too often Eagle forwards were able to easily skate right in on net without so much as being touched.  Dill did not have a great game, but he didn’t get a lot of help either given the quality chances that BC regularly got throughout the game.

I’m not a big fan of singling out “must win games” in November.  But tonight’s contest against Vermont is extremely important.  UMass does not want to fall to 1-6-0 in Hockey East.  That is not an easy hole to try to climb out of.  But to have success tonight they’ll have to play much differently than they did yesterday.  Vermont has one of the best defenses in the country and strong goaltending.  A 21 shot effort against them probably isn’t going to get the job done.  I would suspect the Catamount team would be fired up after a narrow loss last night to UConn.  Hopefully the Minutemen are equally fired up after not making the most of the early momentum from last night.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Ray Pigozzi
Pigozzi’s early goal gave UMass an early chance to win the game and later in the game he assisted on the Hetnik score.

Recap and Box Score from UMass Athletics.

Daily Collegian game recap plus this piece that looks at the little things that added up to a UMass loss.

Gazette recap.

USCHO recap.

BC Interruption breaks down the game goal by goal.

Recap: Minutemen Dominate AIC In 7-1 Victory

In my game preview I said that the strategy for the Minutemen to make sure AIC didn’t get confident and steal another victory at the Mullins Center was to “score early and score often”.  Massachusetts hockey fans who attended Friday’s game were treated to just that. Dennis Kravchenko extended his goal streak to three games with a goal just 57 seconds into the game on an odd man rush with Troy Power.  The Minutemen would score regularly throughout the first 20 minutes and at the end of the first period the score was 4-0.  UMass did not look back from that point and got the win by a final score of 7-1, getting revenge and then some for the embarrassing 3-2 loss to the Yellow Jackets last season.

Whereas last year UMass needed 59 shots against AIC in order to get their 2 goals, on Friday they got their lucky 7 on just 29.  So what was the difference between the 3.4% shot percentage last year and the 24.1%? t wasn’t the goaltender.  Alex Murray was one of the hottest goaltenders so far on this season coming into the game.  He gave up 5 goals on 22 shots.  Hunter Leisner who was the star in net last year came in to relieve Murray and allowed two goals on five shots.  So was it shot selection then?  Yes, but only kind of.  It more had to do with with strategy and UMass using their skill to their advantage.  If I remember correctly a lot of the shots last year against Leisner were set shots from the point or top of the circles.  He had great positioning but at the same time UMass didn’t do too much to challenge him and make him uncomfortable.  That was not the same game they played on Friday.  They overcame the goaltender by creating odd man advantages over and over and over.  The AIC goaltenders didn’t have a chance because UMass was constantly coming in on the rush and making the most of cross ice passes.

As a result, UMass had its best offensive output since 2011.  I won’t go through each goal since there’s so many of them and there don’t appear to be full highlights available so I don’t want to rely on my memory.  It was a total team effort on offense however as the first five goals were scored by five different Minutemen.  One of the positives to come out of the sweep by Maine was that Kravchenko and Frank Vatrano got going offensively.  It was good to see that continue to Friday.  As already mentioned, Kravchenko got the game started with his goal less than a minute in and would later add an assist.  Vatrano would have two goals and an assist against the team his older brother once captained.  Zack LaRue continued his strong senior season with two goals as well.  Steven Iacobellis’ had a goal and two assists on the night.  Stephen Guzzo had a very strong night centering the line with LaRue and Dominic Trento, assisting on both of the LaRue goals and winning 9 of 13 faceoffs.  Marc Hetnik also had a multi-point output, getting assists on the first two goals of the game.  In the first five games of the season UMass was scoring just 2.4 goals per game.  Since Coach Micheletto changed up the lines going into the Maine series they’re scoring 4.7 goals per game with Kravchenko and Vatrano both finding their offensive game.

Defensively UMass did exactly what they needed to do.  The Yellow Jackets were held to just 18 shots on the night as the Minutemen dominated puck possession.  Freshman Henry Dill put in another solid night, giving up just the one goal on an AIC power play.  With the shutout bid over, Alex Wakaluk came in in relief and stopped all four shots he faced.

It’s probably easy to look at UMass’ 7-1 win and say they did exactly what everyone expected them to do.  But that’s unfair to probably both UMass and AIC.  Last year’s result proved that the Yellow Jackets do have talent and cannot just be dismissed.  At the same time it’s a bit of a guessing game what to expect from this UMass team any given night.  What they did is come out and shut down most AIC chances while putting constant pressure on the Yellow Jacket net.  Fans probably shouldn’t get overly excited about this one result, but it did show that two key trends are continuing from the past few weeks.  First, the team is finding scoring despite all the goalscorers lost to graduation last year.  And, Kravchenko and Vatrano continue to build confidence as the season is going along.  With those two starting to click, the hope is that the November results are much different than the October results.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Zack LaRue
Vatrano and Iacobellis had great games and were also worthy of POTG, but I’m giving it to LaRue since he was actually close to having a hat trick.  His first second goal of the night was called back due to a player in the crease (although I didn’t see anyone actually interfering with the AIC goaltender and thought it should’ve counted).  LaRue is putting together a hell of a senior season,  He had just three career goals coming into the year but already has four so far.

Press Conference and some highlights from UMass’ 7-1 win

Here’s the Collegian’s recap of the win plus a feature on the team getting their first home victory of the season.

Here’s the USCHO recap.

Weekend Recap: UMass Loses Two Stunners In Orono

When the season schedule was announced in August it only took about a half a second to realize that the Massachusetts hockey team was facing a pretty big challenge to start things off.  This three week, three state, four opponent road trip is not really what you want to embark upon with an inexperienced team with just one game under their belt, a game they ended up losing 8-1.  Through the first two weekends of the trip though I think Minuteman fans were pretty content with the results.  A split with Michigan State in Lansing was followed with a win at Northeastern and a hard fought loss at Boston College.  The defense and goaltending, a question mark going into the season, seemed to be improving with each game.  So with the team playing fairly well, they headed north to Orono to play a struggling Maine team and try to pick up some key Hockey East points.  Instead the team lost two heartbreakers in totally different fashions and got swept at the hands of the Black Bears.

I wasn’t able to watch either game so my observations on the weekend are strictly based on what I was able to hear from the radio broadcasts, box scores, and goal highlights.  On Friday all those gains on the defensive end disappeared as Maine scored three goals in the first 22 minutes of the game to jump out to the 3-0 lead with all three goals coming on rebounds after Henry Dill made the initial save.  Only the first came on the Black Bear power play.  The rest of the goals on the night would come at even strength.  Coach Micheletto in an attempt to get things going for Frank Vatrano, Dennis Kravchenko, and Troy Power changed up the lines going into the game.  The switch saw immediate results for Kravchenko who would score the first and second goals of his career in the second period while now centering Patrick Lee and Troy Power.  They both came on excellent individual efforts (highlights below).  The Minutemen would tie the game at 3-3 on a Ray Pigozzi goal late in the second only to have one of those dreaded end of period goals give Maine the 4-3 lead with 20 seconds left in the second.  The goal came on a wrap around that Dill misplayed, coming directly off a Troy Power turnover in his own zone.  Just an awful sequence to close out a period.

Maine extended to the lead to 5-3 early in the third.  But as we’ve seen ever since the third period debacle against Boston University is that this UMass team will continue to battle.  And sure enough they clawed themselves right back into the game with a Patrick Lee goal with six minutes left to cut it to a 5-4 Maine lead.  Power made up for his earlier mistake with the nice heads up center pass to Lee who was set up in the slot.  And in one of the more unlikely heroic sequences Mike Busillo found the puck trickle through some Maine defenders to his stick and netted his first career goal to tie the game up with just under two minutes to go in the game.  The comeback would be for naught however as Black Bear Brian Morgan got the winner in overtime in an extremely sloppy sequence that resulted in a four on two for Maine.

The positives coming out of the Friday game was that the new line combinations definitely produced offensive results immediately, especially with Dennis Kravchenko and Troy Power, who accumulated two assists on the night.  It was nice to see someone the unheralded Busillo get his first goal in dramatic fashion.  But there were a lot of negatives.  All the goals came from bad rebounds given up by Dill, bad defensive coverage, or poor turnovers.  Or some combination of all three.  The Minutemen also got beat badly in the faceoff circle, 20 to 41.  It would’ve been helpful to at least get a point out of Friday’s’ effort.  To come back from a three goal deficit and then a two goal deficit with nothing to show for it was pretty tough to swallow.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Dennis Kravchenko
Pretty obvious choice here with his two consecutive goals to help kickstart the comeback.  He also grabbed an assist on the Lee goal.  Without Kravcheko’s two highlight reel goals to get things going this game could’ve just been a total blowout.

Highlights from Friday’s 6-5 OT loss

Well if you like to mix it up when it comes to experiencing heartbreaking games, then you’re a happy person this weekend.  Saturday’s game was not the barn burner shootout of Friday, but just as devastating at the end.  UMass would pour 18 shots on net in the first but the teams would go into the locker room scoreless after the first period.  The goaltenders, including Steve Mastalerz in net for the Minutemen, would continue to keep their opponents off the scoreboard for most of the second period as well.  But towards the end of the period the new line combinations would produce results again with Kravchenko getting his third goal of the weekend, putting home a loose puck with Black Bear goaltender Sean Romeo already down on the ice.  Just over a minute later Frank Vatrano would score his first goal of his collegiate career from the top of the left circle and the Minutemen had a 2-0 lead with going into the third period.

That final period would belong to Maine however as they Black Bears would outshoot UMass 15-6.  The first goal would be scored seven minutes in on a Devin Shore tip in of a Mark Hamilton wrister.  Liam Pecararo would be allowed to skate into the top of the slot and tie the game up with a wrister with under eight minutes left.  The Black Bears completed the comeback and the sweep on a flukey impossible angle shot that, possibly after hitting a UMass defender, trickled past Mastalerz.  That was it.  UMass was unable to find any late game heroics this game and climbed onto the bus without any Hockey East points on the weekend.

To be so close to potentially four points and end up with none hurts.  It probably seems a little early to worry about the on just the second day of November, but the fact is that UMass has already played 23% of their conference schedule so far.  Their two points puts them in a tie with 6th, but all other Hockey East teams have played less games than the Minutemen and eight of them have played two conference games or less so far.  Hockey East points will be tough to come by this month with games scheduled against Boston College and Vermont, both ranked in the top 15 currently.  Three weekends and at least three splits would’ve been a pretty good accomplishment for this team and something to build off.  Unfortunately in the competitive Hockey East this weekend’s falters means they’ll have to learn how to win against the top teams in the league if they don’t want to fall behind in the standings.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Steve Mastalerz
I didn’t see the game so it’s tough to know how everyone played, but Mastalerz seemed to do his part in getting 35 saves in this game.  It’s tough to fault him on any of the goals except for maybe the second.  Dill playing poorly and Mastalerz playing well this weekend means we’ll likely see these two continue to get starts sporadically until one of them is clearly the better netminder.

Highlights from UMass’ 3-2 Saturday loss

USCHO recaps:  Friday and Saturday

Last month it was reported that UMass was one of the schools interested in BU transfer Sam Kurker.  Kurker announced he’ll be attending Northeastern.

Saturday Recap: Penalties Hurt UMass in 4-1 Loss To BC

If the Massachusetts hockey team had been able to stay out of the box, the outcome of this game may have been very different than the final 4-1 win by #6 Boston College.  To the surprise of many (or me at least), this game started out as a defensive struggle.  Both teams did really well in minimizing their opponents chances and preventing shots from getting to their respective goaltenders, Henry Dill for UMass and Thatcher Demko for BC.  At the end of the period the shots were only 6-3 in BC’s favor.  That represented a dramatic improvement for the UMass defense which had allowed 14 first period shots and 42 total to the Northeastern Huskies on the prior night.

Unfortunately circumstances changed in the second and the game slowly started to get away from UMass at that point.  What was a physical game in the first turned into a chippy game in the second in what I thought was mostly initiated by the more experienced and well, larger Eagle players.  The Minutemen tried to respond in kind and unfortunately were unable to do so without crossing the line and picking up a host of penalties.  The festivities started six minutes in when UMass’s Anthony Petrella and BC’s Ryan Fitzgerald went back and forth with a hook and slash.  Steven Iacobellis and Alex Tuch got a couple of roughing penalties about a minute later.  The positive from this sequence was that UMass looked to be the better team four on four.  BC would pick up their first goal while at even strength at 14:15 from Tuch, which was followed shortly after by an interference call on Emerson Auvenshine.  On the subsequent penalty kill Jake Horton took an unnecessary slashing penalty and BC would capitalize with a five on three goal from Adam Gilmour .  UMass was never really able to get back in the game after that.

In the third things continued to get heated with a lot of activity after the whistle and UMass appeared to be thrown off rhythm by it.  A little over ten minutes in Troy Power went into the boards on Matt Gaudreau and received a five minute major and game misconduct for an elbowing penalty.  Horton would again take another bad penalty on the subsequent penalty kill, this time a high stick, and Gilmour had his second two man advantage goal of the night to put the Eagles up 3-0. Spending so much time on the penalty kill prevented the Minutemen from getting in sync on offense in the final period though and they didn’t end up getting on the scoreboard until 17:48 in on a Shane Walsh power play goal.  BC would add the empty net goal to seal their win shortly after.

There were some definite positives to take from the game.  The team defense played early on was very impressive for a defensive unit that includes just two upperclassmen, three underclassmen and a converted forward in Auvenshine.  UMass fans should also feel good that the team battled.  They fought for themselves, they fought for their teammates, and did not allow themselves to get pushed around by a bigger, veteran BC squad.  If the inexperienced UMass team was intimidated, it didn’t show.  Still, going forward the team will have to learn how to be physical but not put yourself at a disadvantage.  Some of the roughing type of penalties can be tolerable in a game like last night.  Two stick infractions to give the opponent a couple five on three opportunities is not however.  If the game turns into a learning opportunity, then I don’t think the loss will mean a lot in the long run.  Sure it’s never enjoyable to sit through another loss at Conte Forum, but that disappointed feeling was nothing a couple of post game beers at Publick House couldn’t cure.  Two weekend road trips, two states, two splits.  I’ll take it.  Up next, Orono.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Shane Walsh
Not only did Walsh have the lone goal for the Minutemen but he was a team best 11 for 17 in the faceoff circle.

Recap from SBN Nation College Hockey.

USCHO recap.

Goal by goal BC point of view from BC Interruption, including the Walsh goal.

Friday Recap: Dill Shines For UMass In 3-2 Win Over Northeastern

The theme of this young season is that the Massachusetts hockey team continues to progress, finding ways to overcome challenges, and stays competitive.  Last night the Minutemen made strides in keeping their opponents off the scoreboard in a 3-2 win over Northeastern.  The main reason for this was the play of freshman goaltender Henry Dill who stopped 42 of 44 shots in just his second collegiate shot but that doesn’t mean this wasn’t a team effort.

Northeastern got on the board first 3:46 into the game when Zach Aston-Reese made a nice move on Jake Horton to skate into the slot and got the puck to Torin Snyderman who shot past Dill.  Horton would make up for it just two and a half minutes later by shooting on Derek Roy, who was a surprise starter in net for NU.  Zack LaRue got his stick on Horton’s shot for his second goal of the season, tying the game at a goal apiece.  The Minutemen would take the lead later in the first on a power play goal from Ray Pigozzi, who followed up a three assist game last Saturday with his first goal of the season.  The Huskies tied it shortly after when Dill was unable to cover up a loose puck in front of him and Dalen Hedges jumped on it and put it into the net.

At the end of the first with four goals on the board and 25 total shots it seemed like the game would end up being a barnburner, but the goaltenders would settle in and only one goal was scored the rest of the game.  That goal came off the stick of Emerson Auvenshine who was inserted into the lineup at defense with Maddison Smiley and Ben Gallacher banged up.  The gamewinner came from a great cross ice pass on the rush from LaRue to Auvenshine who one timed it over Roy’s shoulder.  Dill kept the Huskies off the board for the final 11 minutes and UMass picked up their first Hockey East win of the season.

Dill will rightly get the accolades from the win for his 42 save effort, but the guys in front of him deserve credit as well.  Dill probably let up more rebounds than he and the coaching staff would like, but the defense and forwards were quick to clear the loose pucks and minimize potential second chances.  The team killed all seven of the Huskies’ power play chances and have now killed 15 of 16 opponent power plays on the season.  One area of improvement will be to not allow so many shots on net, but for a defensive unit that is pretty thin and now starting forwards, I thought last night was pretty good on the defensive end.

It won’t get any easier though as they face a Boston College team that put up six goals on Colorado College last night.    It should be interesting to see who gets the start in net as Steve Mastalerz has had some of the best games of his career against the Eagles, but Dill proved himself as a legitimate Hockey East goaltender last night.  Either way, it’s good to have options in net.  I couldn’t help but notice that when the buzzer sounded Mastalerz was the first guy off the bench to congratulate Dill on his win.  I think the bigger question going into tonight though is when we’ll see something from the top line.  While it’s been excellent that UMass has been able to win two in a row based solely on production from their second and third lines, if the Minutemen have any chance of upsetting the 6th ranked Eagles they absolutely have to get something from the line of Vatrano/Kravchenko/Power.

 

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Henry Dill
Obviously.  The highlights below include some of Dill’s better saves as well as the goals.

UMass Wins 3-2; Dill Saves 42

The performances by Dill and Auvenshine are the focus on this Boston Herald recap.

Northeastern coach Jim Madigan blames the lack of puck luck for his team’s loss in the USCHO recap.

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