Exhibition Observations

First off, it should be noted that UVM lost today to New Brunswick by the same 3-2 score as UMass did last night.

Here are some observations from last night’s game.  Thanks to umasshoops.com regular Persee for taking the time to write them up and send them along.

A quick recap of the exhibition game against the VReds of the University of New Brunswick. It should be noted that Canadian universities have no requirements for player eligibility. So a vast majority of the players for our opponent have professional experience of some sort (QMJHL, ECHL, etc).
 
Well this was our first game, after very minimal practices, and it was obvious. Unlike last year when we blew out the VReds, this year we struggled at both ends of the ice. The first period we seemed unable to get out of our own way, particularly on defense. Also communication on defense seemed a bit suspect. A couple of defensive missteps and the VRed’s John Scott Dickson had a pair of goals. The first period was incredibly frustrating, and ended in a 3-0 deficit. The second period showed a little more life. The team seemed to wake up on defense, although there were still some scary moments. The offense had more chances, but Travis Fullerton was putting on a show in net. When the third period rolled in, things finally started looking better, a reward for the fairly sizable crowd who turned out, effort was present on both ends of the ice. This paid off in 2 goals for the Minutemen. Honestly we’ll need to look a lot better against RPI to win the game the way we should. Here’s to some tough practices before Thursday!
 
Paul Dainton played the entire game in net. The summer rust was definitely present for the first period. In the first he definitely wasn’t getting enough help from our D, but I can imagine he’d like 1 or 2 of those goals back. However as the game went on he got stronger and stronger. Wolcott was the only other netminder dressed but he did not get to see any game action.
 
Returning players not dressed were Nolet, Lecomte, and Concannon.
 
Lines : (to start the game)
 
Hobbs-Langeraap-Ortiz
Wellman-Marcou-Syner
Keane-Watson-Saunders
Carzo-Olczyk-Boehm
 
Leary appearred on various lines for a few shifts.
 
Number 1 D-pairing is clearly Braun-Irwin in all situations (ES, PP, PK) beyond that it’s pretty mix and match. We had 7 D dressed, the 5 others were Marcou, Kublin, Kessler, Donnellan, and Rowe.
 
Things that need work – face-offs. Against the V-Reds we looked as bad on face-offs as we have for some years. Sure we’re missing Quirk’s skills there, but our other prime face-off men have all returned and someone is going to need to step up. 
Also clearing the zone. We had far too many turn-overs due to sloppy clearing of the zone. I like some of the speed we showed with rushing the puck out of our defensive zone, but too often we proceeded to turn it over on the next pass.
 
Lastly players who impressed:
 
Will Ortiz: Played on our “first line” (ie the one to start the game). He was all over on both ends of the ice. Making some great setup passes in the offensive zone. He put forth a consistent effort the entire game.
 
Shaun Saunders: His skating and puck handling continue to improve. Continually more nimble on his feet and seems to be putting on some strength.
 
Freshman D – too soon to call anything. Both Rowe and Donnellan have some adjustment to do before they’re completely comfortable with the speed of the D-1 game.
 
Freshman F :
Carzo – didn’t really notice in either a positive or negative way.
Olczyk – noticed both positively and negatively. He definitely makes himself noticed on the ice. Hope we see more consistency.
Leary – the hands that set d3 scoring records are defintely noticable, but I’d like to see improvement in his transition game. Hope to see him flying down the ice with those hands to beat a goaltender, whereas tonight the hands were in evidence while camping in front of the netminder.
Boehm(RS) – nothing really to report. We’ll need to see how he shapes up after a few more games.
 
 
Overall not sure what to expect of this team this season. The potential is there, but definitely some major areas of weakness at this time. RPI should tell us a lot more.

UNB Game Recap; Canniff Service; Mauldin’s Journey; Kostka In WMass

Well, thankfully it doesn’t count as UMass lost their exhibition game to the UNB Varsity Reds by the score of 3-2.  It sounds like the team came out flat defensively as they gave up three first period goals but were able to keep the V-Reds off the board after that.  What is especially troubling though is that the team went 0 for 5 on the power play.  Considering how the Minutemen went long, long, incredibly long stretches without power play goals last season they’ll need to improve on it to be successful this year.  The UMass goals were scored by Casey Wellman and T.J Syner.

Here’s the recap from the Republican.  The Minutmen Athletics Blog was at the game and has some pictures.

Surprisingly, Paul Dainton played the entire game in net.  It looks like pretty much all the regulars played except for Martin Nolet.

Normally I’d be pretty unhappy with a loss in a pre-season exhibition.  However considering that UNB is the reigning Canadian college champions and how well they played against the AHL Portland Pirates this week it may not be necessary to give up on the season yet.  And keep in mind that the 2003-2004 UMass squad that went to the Hockey East final also lost their exhibition to begin that season, by 5 goals!

As mentioned I wasn’t able to get to the game last night, but I’ll be posting a first-hand account from one of my friends who did later on.

Next week’s opponent, the RPI Engineers, also struggled in their exhibition and ended up with a 3-3 tie against Prince Edward Island.  BU also was only able to manage a 2-2 tie against St Francis Xavier.

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The Boston Globe talks about the celebration of life service for Jack Canniff that takes place today in Gloucester.  Coach Cahoon will be in attendance.

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UMass alum Andrew Merritt has an interesting article on the long journey that Greg Mauldin’s hockey career has taken him on.

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Mike Kostka and the Portland Pirates were in Springfield to play the Falcons.  The recap features a picture of Kostka.