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UNH Recap

So for the second straight game the UMass hockey team allowed their opponents to score a touchdown on them.  Unlike BU, New Hampshire at least has a football team so I guess it should be less embarrassing.  UNH scored early and scored often, and in as many different fashions as can be imagined.  Power play goal, 4:52 in the 1st.  Even strength, just 37 seconds later.  Short-handed?  No problem, done.  Forwards scored, defensmen scored.  Hell, I think Wild E. Cat took a shift trying to get one past Meyers.  And of course, it was altogether fitting for the UNH charge to be led by none other than Bobby Butler who had two goals and two assists in his final regular season game against a team he has dominated in his career.

Luckily, I did not make the trip to the shores of Lake Whitt to witness last night’s fiasco.  I did unfortunately listen to the radio broadcast.  At one point color analyst Brock Hines read my mind and said the whole affair smacked of a game from the futile Mallen era of the 90s.  As someone who routinely sat through those beatings, I agree.  The problem is this year’s team is supposedly one of the most talented in the program’s history while those teams routinely could not match its opponents no matter how much effort they put forth.  So have we overrated the skills of the current squad?  I don’t think so.  Surely the injuries are affecting play, but I’m not sure how many of the 14 goals in the past 120 minutes of play Chase Langeraap or Mike Lecomte would have prevented.

So if this team does in fact have talent, it must be that they lack a mental toughness, just as past UMass teams have.  At one point in the broadcast Brock, John Hennessy, and Adam Frenier all commented that the team did not seem mentally ready to play when they spoke to them before the game.  How does this happen?  In the two prior games they got beat by an Atlantic Hockey team in a tournament championship despite outshooting them 3-1 and then got humiliated on national TV a few days later giving up 7 goals.  How can this team not be mentally hungry to prove themselves following two such performances?

Toot Cahoon was very forthright in his post-game interview saying the performance was a total embarrassment for the team and its fans.  He went on to say that this team plays defeated and they can’t handle the heat of higher expectations whenever they get to the point of being an upper echelon program.  While not naming names he said there are four defensemen playing “God-awful” as well as a number of forwards.  Personally, I have no problem with Toot calling out the team with the way they’re playing currently.  But at the same time he also shares the responsibility of where the team is currently.  If they’re not mentally prepared to play, that falls on his shoulders.  Being a motivator is just as important to the coaching position as strategy and recruiting.  And while players come and go the one constant with these annual mid-season swoons has been him.

The amazing thing is there is still plenty of time to accomplish something this season.  They have a tough schedule ahead of them but if they play like they’ve already proven they’re capable of, they’re fine.  But the comeback has to start somewhere.  Let’s see what kind of UMass team takes the ice tonight at Northeastern, one with heart and confidence or the one feeling sorry for themselves.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – T.J. Syner
You’re probably thinking I picked T.J. because he scored an unassisted breakaway goal to open the 2nd period and ever so briefly gave us fans hope for a miraculous comeback.  Nope.  I’m giving this to him because he somehow survived a 7 goal drubbing with a +1 rating. 

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Here’s the recap from UMass Athletics.

Bobby Butler said his team wanted to keep the foot on the pedal in this recap from the NH Union-Leader.

Toot echoes a lot of what he said in the radio interview in the Republican’s game story.

The USCHO story is just as ugly.

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Jon Quick is mentioned by the Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont in this piece about the lack of Massachusetts players on the Olympic team.

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Finally I’d like to take a chance to wish Karen Winger luck in her move to the Midwest.  Karen has been a fixture at UMass hockey games for years, first as a fan and then as a photographer.  She’s been kind enough to provide the pictures used here on Fear The Triangle.  You can see her last Boston-area pictorial covering Friday’s game at Fenway Park on College Hockey News (as well as the game story by former Collegian writer Joe Meloni).  Good luck Winger, you’ll be missed!

(photo by Karen Winger)

 

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4 Comments

  1. Ryan

     /  January 10, 2010

    i was there, and just wanted to say i have never felt so hopeless after 1 period in my life. that was far worse than qunnipiac…much worse. paul thompson is no longer flying under the radar, he has developed into a great player.

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  2. Anonymous

     /  January 10, 2010

    I agree that the coach needs to be accountable. This team has underachieved every year since they made it to the ncaa tournament in 2007. It’s the coach’s job to get his team prepared to play and obvious this team had not been mentally ready way too many times. Also, I wasnt at the game but what is meyers doing still in the game after they’re down 4-0 after the first period? I dont know, Toot has definitely made UMass hockey relevant the past few years and I’ll give him credit for that but at some point if this team doesn’t go anywhere in the hockey east tournament with all this talent the coach has got to go.

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    • I don’t think Meyers played that well but in his defense it didn’t sound like the early goals were his fault. A PPG, a 3 on 1, and a breakaway SHG. That said I’m surprised Toot kept him in though they did say Dainton is still banged up from last week.

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  3. idrivethebus

     /  January 20, 2010

    Thanks! I will certainly miss the up close UMass Hockey action. I will of course be listening on the internet, when I am not in Madison or South Bend shooting hockey teams, that well just have a place in my heart.
    I will see you guys in Madison next year! And I do have some more photos that will be available for FTT use. 🙂

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