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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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14 Comments

  1. Jason W.

     /  February 13, 2010

    Last night was a game we had to have. Their goalie was not very good- seemed every shot that made it to him he was juggling or having some sort of problem with. The first period we were shooting and having lots blocked. It seemed to hit their confidence that they couldnt hit the net. If they just kept shooting and stopped trying to be cute and fancy we could have had a goal.

    Meyers was awful. Both goals get stopped by a competent goalie. In the end it didnt matter since we couldnt generate any real offense.

    Mike Marcou needs to invest in some new sticks. He had 6 or 7 times where the puck jumped off his stick and it hurt us.

    Defense was once again getting caught out of position. Not sure why the defense has struggled.

    How many games are we going to have an embellishment call made against us? Its getting ridiculous.

    Not sure what Toot wanted reviewed, but when the refs reviewed it, they only looked at when we whacked at the puck and not when the goalie was pushed backwards towards the net.

    In the end, another long drive out to Amherst ruined by a weak effort. Quite disappointed.

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    • Ryan

       /  February 14, 2010

      Meyers was awful? Meyers made some very good saves, including keeping two breakaways out of the net. The first goal was a drop-pass on a PP and the second was a 2 on 1 with men closing in. He also made some good saves in general and played the puck well, def. wasn’t awful.

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      • Jason W.

         /  February 14, 2010

        I stand by my original post. Meyers was awful. I dont know what very good saves he made cause I certainly dont remember any, but any decent goalie stops both those goals. I had a clear view on both goals and my opinion is a decent goalie stops those.

        His defense didnt help him at all. But he is too inconsistent to rely upon to perform well and carry this team. Obviously he’s not the only player who stunk friday, but he cant be excused for his performance.

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  2. Tom

     /  February 14, 2010

    These games are way too important to be playing meyers. Yeah give him a start on the road against providence, but umass has to win these games at the end of the season and putting in a rusty goalie who has never proven himself makes no sense to me. Dainton hasn’t exactly been amazing but he’s the starter and you gotta go with him at this point of the season

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    • Meyers gave up two goals in a game where UMass was shut out. What else do you want him to do. I thought one of his goals was a little soft but he made up for it later with some tough saves.

      I also think Dainton is the better goalie but I don’t think the gap between the two of them is that big. I like Dainton’s consistency but his numbers aren’t exactly among the elite. UMass has about an equal chance to win no matter who’s in net.

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  3. Butch from the Cape

     /  February 14, 2010

    What number are you Jason? You keep saying “we”. You are treating these kids like they are professional athletes, they are college kids who I am 99% certain have all made it alot further along in their hockey careers then you ever did. Calling a college kid awful and imcompetent on a college hockey blog is pretty lame. Stop trying to live vicariously through them.

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    • Jason W.

       /  February 14, 2010

      Well… I never played hockey so 100% of them made it farther than I did.

      🙂

      And Im sorry if you find my comments lame. I take my sports seriously. Especially the UMass hockey team since I spent 2 years working for them and having watched them since 1993. I take a lot of pride and enjoyment in them. And being a fan who pays money to see them play means I am going to criticize them and question their ability to perform at this level.

      I dont live vicariously through them. Its a source of enjoyment for me. Just like professional sports. And Im going to criticize whenever I see fit.

      You want to sit back and enjoy it fine. Im not telling you how to act, think, or behave. You dont want to criticize college players? Thats your prerogative. Im going to do whatever I want. Just dont go and tell me how to act.

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  4. Any news on Pereira and how he played? Does anyone know if they beat Gunnery today..Gunerry is the number 1 team…

    As for Us. why does it seem we always play bad after christmas..Do they change something in workouts or practice?

    Like

    • Look for my post on seeing Pereira play tomorrow.

      That’s a great question about how AOF did against #1 Gunnery. Unfortunately neither school nor USHR has the score posted as of yet. Hopefully we’ll know soon.

      As for the late season swoons by UMass after it happened a couple years in a row some people theorized that it had something to do with the team losing its focus during winter break when they had so much downtime and was forced to play in a near empty Mullins. That didn’t happen this year as they actually had a winning record for January (though did stuggle at times too). I wish I knew what drove these second half stuggles. I guess if I ever figure it out there may be an assistant coach position for me somewhere.

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    • Anonymous

       /  February 15, 2010

      avon 6 gunnery 0 , pereira 2g , 2a .. the game is posted on USHR 2/10 date that was maded up today due to snow last wednesday ..he has 50 total pt’s in 21 games .. GO UMASS !! don’t give up yet

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  5. Not sure if anyone will see this because the post is 2 back now but I agree and disagree with the comment on Meyers. He certainley prevented another BC-like game but at the same time he made some mistakes. Once he went behind the goal to clear it and totally wiffed on the puck. That being said he shouldn’t have played in the first place. Dainton can’t play every game but at this point in the season he’s going to have to play tired.

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    • Once again, he gave up only two goals. Players who do that day in and day out over an entire season get awards.

      Speaking of awards, if there’s one for nearly getting caught too far out of your own net, Dainton gets the nod in that one over Meyers. There are times I think he needs to be bungee-corded to the crossbar. 🙂

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