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BU Recap

Burn the third jerseys!

Ok, maybe that’s a little overboard.  Actually I liked the new jerseys overall.  A simple design with the Minuteman logo on the front and maroon coloring along the shoulders.  The great thing about designing jerseys for UMass is there’s no pressure.  Because whatever you do you’ll never be able to design a worse or better jersey than the triangle.  Period.

Anyway, onto the game.  Amazing to think that UMass has played four games against ranked opponents and has only been outscored by three goals (if you don’t count that empty netter in Minnesota).  Even more amazing is that UMass could’ve won a couple of those if they only executed better.  UMass lost the game last night because they took off a substantial part of the second period and made two huge breakdowns late that resulted in two breakaway goals.

Let’s talk about the breakaway goals.  Down 2-1 late in a second period in which UMass disappeared for long stretches Joe Pereira comes out of the penalty box, heads straight to the opposing blue line, collects a pass and goes in and scores.  Inexcusable.  Really inexcusable with a couple assistant captains on the ice.  A guy coming out of the box is just an awareness thing.  Maybe UMass had a little tunnel vision on the power play, since it struggled again tonight, and wasn’t paying attention to the big picture.  And then late they give up the puck at their own blueline and allow Sahir Gill to come in and net what ends up being the gamewinner.  Two key plays that could’ve been prevented.

Those two plays are the most obvious ones to point to, but what also hurt them was the power play and the inability to generate decent shots.   For the second straight game UMass could manage just one lonely shot on the power play.  Luckily they made the most of its as Darren Rowe scored with it.  But it has to improve.  But the power play was just part of the bigger problem on offense.  UMass took the 1-0 lead in the first despite being outshot 10-4.  They got a little better as the game went along but still were outshot 37-26 for the game.  It’s not for lack of effort, I thought the team was buzzing all night long.  They’re just not quite hitting on passes, not quite finding the open spots, not quite skating where they should be without the puck.  I was shocked to look at the score sheet after the game and see Mike Pereira and Conor Sheary with zero shots on the net for the game, because I thought those two played excellent, especially Sheary.  But I think that goes to show that there’s a tough time getting in good position to shoot and then getting it on net.  What is interesting is UMass seemed to be able to do the most damage with some of BU’s better players on the ice, like Alex Chiasson and Corey Trivino.

There were a lot of positives tonight as well.  Once again, this team does not give up when done.  Doesn’t.  Down late by two goals they still were able to make the last few seconds mean something.  That aspect of this team is very impressive.  I thought Danny Hobbs played very well last night.  He ended up +2 on the game with 3 shots and like he did previously was able to have a key steal and possession on the penalty kill.  Jeff Teglia had another solid game.  33 saves and two of the goals he gave up were on the breakaway, though I thought he could’ve made a little better move on the Pereira goal, and even he admitted as much afterward.  But it’s tough to get on a goaltender for giving up breakaway goals.  Brendan Gracel continues to be enjoyable to watch, the energy and skill he brings to the ice every shift is unmatched.  He’s due for a real breakout game soon.

I know a lot of people are probably talking about the Mike Pereira goal that was waved off for offsides.  I received a lot of messages when it happened, including from the Northeastern press box of all places, saying it was on sides.  I haven’t seen it, but it seemed on for me.  It’s certainly unfortunate since the goal would’ve tied it up.  However UMass made enough mistakes afterward to make it moot.  Plus as Matt Vautour mentioned after the game, just because most in the crowd didn’t hear the whistle doesn’t mean Kieran Millan didn’t.  He may have already knew the play was dead and wanted nothing to do with stopping Pereira’s shot.  We’ll never know.  Better execution and it won’t have to come down to potentially missed calls.

It was nice to see the students come out in force for the game.  The line when I showed up at 5:30 was amazing going all the way back to the ticket office.  It brought me back to my days waiting in line for basketball in the mid-90s.  Coach Parker, Toot, and Jeff Teglia all mentioned how impressive the crowd was after the game.  The team continues to have a lot to build on, going toe to toe with some very talented teams early on.  But they have a lot to work on as well.  That should keep them busy in practice as they prepare to take on Providence for the newly traditional Halloween series.  Trick or treat?  We’ll see.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Darren Rowe
Rowe continues to impress on offense and seems poised for an impactful sophomore season with his two goals last night bringing his total to four for the season.  I know I’ve pointed out that I’d like to see him on forward more because I think his skills are better suited up front, but he played decent on defense tonight when he was back there.  In fact I thought he had a key blocked shot late, seemed to take it right in the gut in fact, that helped keep UMass in the game.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his first goal was setup with a spectacular pass across the slot from Gracel.

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Here’s the game recap from the Gazette.

The Boston Hockey Blog has full coverage as well.

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