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Quinnipiac Recap

Now we’re talking.

I’m not sure exactly what Coach Cahoon worked on during the ten days UMass had off before the Vermont game, but I hope it continues.  UMass has shown marked improvement on offense, defense, and special teams in the two games this past week.  What I’m finding interesting is that they’re making their shots count.  Up until Tuesday the team had only scored 4 goals once, coming in the second game against Minnesota (I’m not counting the exhibition).  Yet, they scored 9 goals total this week, but didn’t have an overwhelming number of shots.  In fact they only had 25 shots total in each of the wins.  This tells me that they’re beginning to understand the offensive system better, moving the puck to get better looks, and being more patient and not just firing it into the goaltender’s chest or defender’s shins.

On defense and the penalty kill again I think they’re being more patient and not overcommitting and putting themselves out of position.  They seem to just be sticking to the basics of staying between their guy and the net and having active sticks in the passing lanes.  The improved forecheck has also helped considerably, led by T.J. Syner who has been picking the puck off of opponents sticks at a pretty good pace.  I think the team has also seen improved play along the boards, with guys like Conor Sheary and Brian Keane doing a good job of getting to or at least tying up pucks in the corners.

The special teams got a nice little boost this week.  The power play which had been mired in an 0 for 18 slump was 3 for 16.  There were still times when the team was completely unable to establish any kind of offense on the extra man and couldn’t keep the puck in the zone.  But there were other times when the power play looked respectable.  Probably still some areas to work on but at least the coaching staff now has some tape of what’s working, which there was little of before this week.  The penalty kill was probably the biggest surprise, killing 9 of 10 opportunities.  A lot of credit has to go to Paul Dainton for those kills, but I thought the team played well in front of him in those situations as well.

All in all though you’re probably going to get the win when you can count on four goals from defensemen in the game.  But that’s what they got with two from Adam Phillips and one from Conor Allen from the point and Doug Kublin ended up netting a nice one on a great center pass from Danny Hobbs on the rush.  And even the lone forward scored goal by forward Danny Hobbs was a deflection of a Joel Hanley slapshot from the point.  I thought last night was Hobbs’ best game since missing a few games with injury earlier in the season.

All in all a great week of hockey.  It’s unfortunate that the holiday seemed to prevent a lot of UMass fans from experiencing it firsthand as the crowds were sparse for both of the tilts.  But hopefully they begin to comeback for a key Hockey East matchup next Saturday afternoon against Lowell.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Adam Phillips
He had just two shots on the game but made them both count and by doing so doubled his total goal output from all of last year in the USHL.  Phillips has shown good stick work on offense all season, it’s nice to see him get some success with his shot as well.

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Dick Baker has the recap for the Republican.

Around the league UMass was helped when Northeastern and Vermont tied on Friday, allowing neither to gain much ground on the Minutemen in the standings.  Vermont plays their third game in six days when they visit Boston College this afternoon.  BC continues to look less dominant than expected, getting beat by the improved Merrimack squad on Friday.  Merrimack was then beat 2-1 by UNH last night.  Brown had a respectable showing against Hockey East this weekend tying both UNH and BU.  In other weekend games Providence beat Holy Cross and Lowell got swept at home by Minnesota State by a combined score of 11-5.

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It was a good night in the Mullins for the Minutemen last night and a good night around the NHL as well.

Greg Mauldin scored two goals for the Avalanche.  The linked story shows a nice picture of him roofing one over Nik Backstrom.

Meanwhile Justin Braun had a two assists night in just his second game in San Jose.

Unfortunately Jon Quick could not complete the NHL Minuteman hat trick as his Kings lost 2-1.

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A reader pointed out to me earlier this week and then I got a reminder yesterday that BC is having a Black Friday sale through tomorrow where they’re selling tickets to the two games against UMass for just $10 each.

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6 Comments

  1. Personal highlights of the game:

    1. Being one of maybe 20 students in the crowd

    2. Fight Mass running to section U and picking up Fear the Triangle after goal number 1

    3. John Gravallise yelling “NO” and then laughing as we all chanted “NO” back at him.

    Like

    • I counted being picked up three times.

      Gravel is one of the more personable (and competent) refs in the league. You can have a lot of fun with him if you’re in a spot to make yourself heard.

      Like

      • I only remember them running over for one, but its ok, I get picked up from time to time too. They usually just pick themselves up.

        I’ll have to remember Gravel will respond and make sure that we have some fun with him. I always thought he was a horrible ref, but now at least I can have some fun trying to get him to acknowledge us!

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    • Alan

       /  November 28, 2010

      Saw you on TV, Flag Guy.

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  2. Alan

     /  November 28, 2010

    I met Gravel at Schneider Arena once while waiting for someone outside the restroom, which is next to the referees’ room. I said hello, and he was really nice to me! Nice to know that a guy who has been doing HE for so long still loves it.

    Like

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