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Friday Recap

After last night the UMass hockey team now stands at the edge of losing everything they had hoped to accomplish this season.  The two main goals for this year was to get home ice in Hockey East and put themselves in place for an NCAA berth.  They are now barely clutching onto both of those things and will have to find a way to maintain that tenuous hold while playing five of the next six games on the road.  It won’t be easy.

Amazingly, UMass has found themselves in this position by being unable to generate any offense.  Losers in four out of their last five the Minutemen have been shutout in two of those losses and managed only one and two goals in the other two.  Only in the game against lowly Providence were the Minutemen able to put goals on the board and a win in the books.

Unlike last week where the team showed absolutely no effort on the ice, that wasn’t the case against Northeastern.  Effort was there, execution was lacking.  Sure UMass had 31 shots on net, but none of them were really quality ones.  And credit goes to Chris Rawlings for registering the shutout but it’s tough to say he was really tested.  A reader posted a comment a few weeks ago asking if the team had gotten too fancy on offense.  This was very apparent last night.  There are just too many no look passes to guys who aren’t there.  Too many passes trying to thread the needle through the defense.  And too much waiting around for the perfect shot.  I think it’s time to get ugly.  Shoot the puck as often as possible and have the forwards crash the net time and time again.

UMass are essentially at the point where they have to win their next three games, starting with tonight’s matchup at Northeastern.  The final three games are going to be a huge challenge by playing Maine and Boston College away.  They have to take six points from Northeastern and Merrimack.  It surely won’t be easy, but if they still have hopes for home ice in the playoffs and a trip to the NCAAs they haven’t left themselves any other choice.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Brett Watson
Watson was his usual self in terms of defense and effort, but he also did a decent job offensively last night with 5 shots on goal.  It’s never good when your best defensive player, with only two career goals to his name, is the one leading the offense.

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According to the Gazette, James Marcou agrees that tonight is the biggest game of the year.

The Republican recap talks about the recent home woes.

Here’s the recap from USCHO.

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I won’t be able to make the game at Matthews tonight but I will be able to watch UMass’ top recruit, Mike Pereira, play at Deerfield today.  So look for my writeup on him in the days to come.

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