Friday Recap

This team cannot finish.  They can’t finish their shots and they certainly cannot finish games.  Too often this season, like the game up at UNH last fall or last night, they’ve had a team, talented teams at that, on the ropes and just cannot maintain focus long enough to pick up the win.  Why we see this over and over I don’t know.   Last fall I would’ve chalked it up to youth.  But I can’t anymore.  This team has almost 30 games under its belt.  Even young teams will evolve over the course of the season and learn how to win.  Look at Boston College last year.  Granted the talent level is very different, but that was a young team that struggled in the beginning of the season but developed over the course of the year and showed marked improvement by the spring and won a championship.  This UMass team continues to make the same mistakes, continues to take shifts or periods off, and continues to be unable to claw their way to a win.  They can certainly claw their way back into games, as we saw last night.  But they appear to lack the mental toughness to finish the job.  And because of that they ruined a great defensive effort, some excellent goaltending, and the heroics of Adam Phillips to get them back into the game.  All wasted.  Another night, another lost chance at points in the standings.

Last night could’ve been a signature win of the season.  It could’ve been something to build off for these last few weeks and the offseason.  Instead it’s another reminder that this team is quite frankly not good.   But bad defense killed that chance.  With a one goal lead and under three minutes to play Merrimack was allowed to skate into the zone and shoot at will.  And that’s that.  Merrimack gets the win and UMass has been without one for the last seven games.  One has to wonder if they’ll win another all season. 

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Conor Sheary
Obviously Phillips deserves a lot of credit for doing what he could to get the win, but I was really impressed by Sheary’s play last night.  A goal, an assist, he did the little things as well and what I really liked to see was him doing his best to skate through checks and overcome Merrimack’s defense.

The only bright spot last night was that Vermont and Providence also lost, meaning there’s no changes in the standings and UMass remains in 7th place. 

Toot cites special teams play as the difference in the Republican recap.

We beat ourselves is the message in the Gazette.

Merrimack was outplayed says the Eagle Tribune.  Mark Dennehy said the same thing after the game, saying his team stole these points.  No, Mark, they were given to you on a silver platter.

Matt Irwin has been called up by the San Jose Sharks.