BU Recap

A solid effort by the Minutemen but it has gotten to the point in the season where effort means little and results mean everything.  And the result was another loss, another game gone by without picking up any points.  What’s tough about this one is that at times UMass played some of their best hockey of the season and overall did a great job at limiting the chances for one of the more talented teams in the conference.  But a couple key defensive breakdowns and taking way too many penalties at the wrong times ended up sinking the Minutemen’s chances for the upset.

UMass is getting into a bad habit of giving up goals late in the period.   I would argue both the Boston College and Merrimack games last weekend were decided when late goals in a period completely shifted momentum.  Sure enough with just 5 seconds left in the first last night BU scored to take the lead when Marc Concannon for some reason went behind the net and followed the puck leaving Alex Chiasson wide open just feet from the net.  If the Minutemen go into the locker room tied and then proceed to dominate in the second as they did there’s a good chance BU would not have been able to come back. 

Dominate they did in the second period grabbing the lead and outshooting BU 16-7 in the frame.  After two periods UMass led in shots 23-14.  They would get just 3 more for the rest of the game.  Why?  Because they spent most of the third period on their heels and a ton of time killing penalties.  UMass took four of them in the third, three of them in the last six minutes of regulation.  Once again the penalty kill came up big and didn’t allow a power play goal, but for a team that struggles on offense and needed to find a game winner, they’re not going to do it shorthanded.  Especially since they’ve yet to score a shorthanded goal all season.  The penalties have to stop.  With UMass shorthanded for a good part of the period BU ended up with 14 shots from the start of the third on, including the only one that really mattered in overtime.  UMass, namely the star players, really needs to figure out how to generate more offense when it really counts.  Two of the three shots in the third period came from the checking line while the other came from a defenseman.  The top three lines had exactly zero shots when it mattered most.

Not to sound like a broken record, but the power play needs to be fundamentally changed.  And quickly.  UMass went 0 for 6 with the extra man generating just 4 shots on net.  Four.  Coach Cahoon has shaken up his power play units a bit, putting different personnel together, but their approach is still the same.  And it’s not working.  And in fact I think the new top power play unit of T.J. Syner, Danny Hobbs, and Chase Langeraap has a major flaw to it.  These guys all looked good on the ice together but none of them are very strong at faceoffs.  Too many times last night UMass was losing the faceoff on the power play which led to an immediate BU clear.  While UMass won the faceoff battle last night 30-28, these three only won 4 of 14 chances.  It would probably be best to replace one of these guys with Branden Gracel or Conor Sheary instead.  However I’m not sure if we’ll see any changes as Cahoon stood by the power play in the postgame press conference, saying the team is young and still trying to get a grasp on how to execute it properly.

There were a lot of positives last night.  Offensively there were some really good efforts and much better execution than we’ve seen in a few weeks.  I felt all of the key offensive forwards looked great through the first two periods.  Paul Dainton had a bit of an up and down game but at times made some absolutely huge saves to keep the score tied in the third.  I thought Eddie Olczyk had a good game despite not getting regular play lately and hope he continues to stay in the lineup.  Defensively as a whole the team played much better than I expected considering Doug Kublin missed the game with injury.  UMass should be proud that they made such a good showing, but their backs are quickly being forced against the wall.  Vermont spanked Maine up in Orono last night to the surprise of many and are now tied with UMass for 7th.  A loss tonight would bring Providence to just a point behind the Minutemen and hand them the tiebreaker.  That absolutely cannot happen.  I’m hoping for a playoff-like mentality from the Minutemen tonight because without one the real playoffs just may pass them by.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Danny Hobbs
Hobbs was key to the second period success for the Minutemen and his goal gave UMass the lead in the 2nd on a great setup from Syner.  Hobbs now has 8 goals on the season to go with 21 total points.  Already he has doubled his production from his first two years combined. 

The Gazette recap says how Toot and the team are pissed.  Good.

The Republican calls it a heartbreaker.