Saturday Recap

They did it.  They actually did it.  After taking off the entire month of February the UMass team was able to endure the long trip up to Orono and sweep the Black Bears and secure a tie for 6th place and the seventh seed in the Hockey East playoffs.  I don’t think even the most optimistic UMass fans would’ve expected such a result.  Granted, UMass was helped out by whatever this Scott Darling situation Maine has going on currently.  It’s obvious that Shawn Sirman is not ready for primetime.  I’m sure a lot of Maine fans are wondering why coach Tim Whitehead didn’t just start Dave Wilson last night considering he was in after Sirman allowed two goals on three shots.  All in all this weekend, Sirman gave up 6 goals on 16 shots.  Ouch.

But credit goes to the UMass team who played two very sound games with good effort both nights.  They were led all weekend by none other than their captains, Justin Braun and Brett Watson.  Though it appears now that they may have gone back and given one of Braun’s goals from Friday to Matt Irwin, but the captains still had a hand in 7 of this weekend’s 9 goals.  There’s a reason why Toot Cahoon excluded these two when he talked about the late season swoon during the past week’s radio show.  Paul Dainton also came up big this weekend after struggling for the late part of the season.  Commentators John Hennessy and Brock Hines could not say enough good things about his performance last night.

So, has UMass gotten things together and are now poised to try to do some damage in the post-season?  Tough to tell.  It’s great that they were able to sort out, or at the very least temporarily put aside all that had ailed them for the past month or beyond.  But Maine was already struggling going into the weekend and like said the goaltending situation did not help their chances.  Boston College will be a completely different story.  They are peaking right now and just took three points from regular season champion New Hampshire.  The Eagles are 9-2-1 in their last 12 games and have their sights set on a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.  UMass will have a little something to play for as well.  The weekend sweep has put them back as a team under consideration for the pairwise and this morning they find themselves tied for 15th in the ranking.  This could likely change by the end of the day since there are still three ECAC playoff games tonight as well as one game out west, but if UMass is somehow able to upset BC in the quarterfinals they’ll likely be in a good spot for one of the last at-large bids to the tournament.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Justin Braun
As I mentioned it appears (though box scores do not reflect it) that Braun lost one of his goals from Friday, though he picked up an assist.  No problem, he’ll just have another multi-goal night again.  In hockey it’s’ tough for a non-goaltender to put a team on their shoulder and lead a team to wins, but Braun appeared to do just that.


The Republican recap has a bunch of quotes from the victorious captains.

Toot credits the captains and Dainton in the USCHO game story.

Once again WABI has a couple video highlights.


Mike Pereira’s Avon Old Farms team plays for the New England prep championship today in Salem, NH.  Pereira had a goal and an assist in their semifinal win over Nobles.

Conor Sheary’s season is over after his Cushing team lost to Berkshire in their semifinal.

I spent yesterday afternoon in Foxboro watching recruits Colin Shea, Peter DeAngelo, and Shane Walsh play in the EJHL playoffs.  Look for my observations on those three later in the week.