Sweden Recap

First thing first.  My hope going into yesterday’s exhibition game was that no one gets hurt.  That didn’t happened as Mike Pereira was hit into the boards, and had to be helped off the ice and immediately into the locker room.  It looked like a knee but from what I heard it sounds like it might just be a deep bruise.  Anything more serious would’ve put a huge damper on what was a good effort by the Minutemen who dominated the Swedes 5-1.

This game won’t count in the standings but hopefully it registers with the players’ confidence as they soundly defeated a very skilled, though perhaps a bit tired, Swedish team.  The Swedes were playing their fourth game in 6 days.  It was interesting to see guys like T.J. Syner and Mike Marcou in the lineup because in his post-game press conference Coach Cahoon specifically mentioned that those two would not be playing.  Perhaps the horrible loss to Army spurred him to reconsider and want his captains on the ice to try to inspire the rest of the team.  Whatever it was, it worked because this was the most sound effort that we’ve seen all season.

One highlights from the game is the fact that UMass killed all six Sweden power plays, limiting them to only four shots.  On the other side UMass went 1 for 4 on the power play generating 11 shots.  The power play goal was a great effort by Conor Sheary where he skated into the slot and roofed a shot just under the crossbar.  One of the better goals of the young season.  Sheary was assisted on the play by Chase Langeraap who had a huge game and made an excellent case that he should be getting playing time in the future.  In the end Langeraap had two goals, including one shorthanded, and an assist.  I don’t give out player of the games for exhibitions, but he’d obviously be it.  I thought Conor Allen played well, rebounding from some poor games as of late.  The box score has him only with an assist on one of the goals, the first where he made a nice cross ice pass to Langeraap on a two on one.  I could’ve sworn he assisted on the second Langeraap goal as well, but either way Allen’s play was improved.

Coach Cahoon used the game to experiment with some lines and other strategies.  One of the more interesting ones was putting Mike Donnellan out there taking shifts as a forward.  The idea behind it is like to add some physical play that has been lacking from the forward position so far this season.  He definitely has the checking ability to do so and skates well enough to be a forward.  If this is something Cahoon is going to implement going forward though it looks like it’ll take some more time in practice as there were a few times were Donnellan got crossed up with his linemates.  But overall I don’t think the idea is without merit and it would help fill a glaring need on this team currently.

Jeff Teglia saw the majority of the time in net, playing 50 minutes.  Overall I thought he played very solid and ended the game with 30 saves even with the shortened playtime.  He’s beginning to look much more comfortable in there and each game he seems to get a little better with his positioning before the initial shot and also knowing when to or not to come out and play the puck.  Dainton came in for a few minutes in relief and looked fine.  But one of the best moments of the afternoon was when Kevin Moore came in to play the last three and a half minutes to a loud cheer from the sparse, Mallen-like crowd in attendance.  He didn’t just play, he got tested and came up with what I thought were a couple tough saves.

It doesn’t count, but it’s something and hopefully gives the team a bit of a boost heading into this week’s practices.  Getting their first win will be a tough task with two games at #10 UNH on the slate, but if they can play defense like they did yesterday and have upperclassmen step up like Langeraap, they just may pull off the upset.


Dick Baker has his recap of the game.

Providence’s success against Northeastern and UMass earlier this season does not appear to be a fluke as the Friars shutout Merrimack and tied Vermont this weekend and find themselves in second place.  Northeastern lost to another Atlantic Hockey team, their third this season, dropping a 4-1 decision to Niagara.  UNH got four points on the weekend with wins over BC and Lowell.