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Quarterfinal Preview

Hockey East Quarterfinals

Massachusetts Minutemen 18 -16-0, (Hockey East 13 -14-0 T-6th)
at
#4 Boston College Eagles 21 -10-3, (Hockey East 16- 8 -3 2nd)  

Official Boston College Hockey Site

Since UMass fans by this point are pretty familiar with the BC team given that tonight will be the fourth time they’ve played them and the teams just met a couple weeks ago, I’m going to shake up my usual preview format.  Instead I wanted to take an in-depth look at that last game against the Eagles and see what UMass was able to do well to fall just short in overtime.

First off, no penalties.  None.  Zero.  It’s not realistic to expect the Minutemen to go through the weekend without taking any penalties, but limiting their penalties could be huge.  Especially when you consider that the penalty kill is only 70.2% over the last 10 games.  How were the able to get through a game without taking a penalty?  They skated.  They didn’t get lazy on defense, they were able to skate with BC the entire game.

In the first period UMass bent but did not break.  There were points in time where BC completely dominated and UMass had a tough time maintaining any time in the offensive zone.  Yet, with the help of some spectacular goaltending from Paul Dainton, they were able to weather the storm and bounce back afterwards.  After BC outshooting them 13-8 in the first period the Minutemen outshot the Eagles 27-20 for the rest of the game.  This is a dangerous, talented BC team.  There will be points in time this weekend when they are completely dominating.  If Dainton and the guys in front of him can come out of those times with minimal damage they just may be able to inflict some of their own.

That game was the first in what seemed like months where UMass brought full effort.  Not good effort for a period or a shift, but the entire game.  And they also played with some confidence as well.  I hope they can tap into that kind of determination.  Yet, the execution was still lacking in the game and they were not able to cash in on their offensive chances, though to his credit Parker Milner played excellent in net..  And while they only scored one goal in the game you have to admire how it was scored.  Why?  They crashed the net and after Danny Hobbs nearly put it in, captain Brett Watson ended an 82 game goalless streak to put UMass on the board.  They’ll need those same types of plays this weekend, just more of them.

Finally, they’ll need luck.  They got some in that last game with at least two or three BC shots going off iron.  And BC is good.  Real good.  They are playing the best hockey in the conference right now.  They’re 9-2-1 in their last dozen games.  In that time they’ve scored an average of 4.1 goals while only giving up 1.8.  To upset the Eagles the Minutemen may just have to play their two or three best games of the season.  Let’s see if they have it in them.

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I’m happy to see that the Pond Club will be teaming up with the UMass Alumni Association to host pregame receptions at Cityside in Cleveland Circle for all the weekend’s games.  Cityside is one of the places mentioned on my Road Trip page.  I bet I can sneak in a trip to Publick House sometime this weekend as well.

A heads up for those fans in Western Mass not making the trip to Newton, because basketball is playing in the A-10 quarterfinals the hockey game broadcast will be found on WKIX 97.9FM.  Saturday’s broadcast will be back on 100.9FM

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Dick Baker of the Republican says it’s now how you start, but how you finish.

Here is the preview from the Collegian.  I love how it mentions the 1995 play-in game.

Momentum is key says Matt Vautour.

USCHO says BC should win the series in a cakewalk and they’ll be stunned if UMass can even win a game.  Shocking…

Here’s a Hockey East preview from the Herald.

Joe Meloni has a comprehensive preview of the Hockey East quarterfinals for College Hockey News.

Andrew Merritt takes a look at the quarters for the New England Hockey Journal.

And finally INCH has their preview as well.

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