Merrimack Recap

When I started this blog and named it Fear The Triangle I did so to pay homage to some truly ugly sweaters, the teams that wore them, and the fans who watched from the stands rarely seeing their team succeed and witnessing some of the most lopsided games in Hockey East history.  I thought it was a good name for a blog because that era was over and the UMass program had moved on to bigger and better things and we’d never have to suffer through those types of losses again.  Right?  Apparently not.

I apologize for those coming on here for some type of post game analysis of how the team played and why they lost.  It’s impossible to write such a thing.  They lost because they sucked.  Offensively, defensively, goaltending, special teams, coaching.  There were no positives, only negatives, and unlike the night before there was nothing shown as something to build off of.  The headline on the UMass Athletics site says “Merrimack skates by hockey 11-2”.  At first I found it laughable because usually “skates by” indicates some kind of narrow win.  But then I realized what they meant.  All night Merrimack was literally skating by UMass.  In the neutral zone.  On the way to the goaltender.  On the break.  Skate by the forwards, skate by the defensemen, shoot, back of the net, repeat.

I have no idea where the team goes from here.  Upperclassmen, freshmen, starters, healthy scratches, assistants, and head coach Toot Cahoon all need to take a step back and figure out what the hell went wrong this weekend.  Boston College and Merrimack are both very good teams, but not so good that UMass should be losing by a combined score of 16-2.  I don’t care how young we are or if guys are banged up.  That is flat out unacceptable.  That’s not getting beaten by better teams.  That’s either not caring, not executing, playing dumb undisciplined hockey or some combination of all three.  And everyone, coaches and players, shares the blame in that and needs to find a way out of it.  There’s still a lot of hockey left in the season, against some pretty tough teams, but to coming into February in 7th place and end the season out of the playoffs will be devastating.  At least to this fan.  Good teams, no matter what they’re up against find a way to win.  Playoffs or bust.

Lastly, I’ve already had a half dozen people ask me if Cahoon should be let go at the end of the season.  First off, it’s not happening as he just signed a contract extension through the end of 2013 and the administration is happy with his performance here.  Secondly, I don’t think it’s warranted at this point.  I have been disappointed with the lack of success and late season flops but there’s a multitude of reasons why I think Cahoon should be the coach beyond this season, from his recruitment of this year’s current freshman class to how he runs the program.  Rather than totally repeat myself you can get a better understanding of my thoughts by reading what I wrote when his contract was extended last summer.  That’s not to say he gets a free pass.  I felt the team underperformed in the month of January and this weekend has been utterly disastrous.  As head coach, the buck stops with him.  I would hope he feels a little more motivation this morning and again when they play Merrimack in a few weeks as his team just got embarrassed by a former assistant coach of his.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Kevin Moore
Easiest POTG pick of the season.  Moore is the only one who can walk away from last night’s debacle and say he played as well as he could have.  It’s unfortunate his career debut had to come in such a horrendous situation but it was great to see the group of UMass fans at Lawler cheering loudly when he was on the ice.

The Republican correctly identifies Danny Hobbs’ slashing penalty at the very end of the first period as the play where the wheels came off for the Minutemen.

“It was a total disaster,” says Toot in the USCHO recap.  Yeah, I’d say so.