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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.

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11 Comments

  1. it really is getting hard to watch UMass hockey. i know we’ll get better as the young guys get experience but even then i have to wonder just how good that will be. at least with basketball i have some hope for the future.

    Like

    • They should already be getting better. But they’re not. Theyre the same team they were in October and making the same exact mistakes.

      I didn’t care about the results of this year, I just wanted to see them be a better team at the end of the year than they were at the start. Unfortunately that’s not happening.

      Like

  2. Jeff

     /  February 19, 2011

    I’m going to disagree with the comment that this team is not good. I would put the tallent and skills on this team among the best a UMass team has had and up against most of the Hockey East teams not named BC. I think the problem is focus – they don’t have that laser focus on the end goal and game goals which results in not winning the close games, and making mental mistakes. Does this come from coaching or the character of the players, that I don’t know but its a huge issue.

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    • Unfortunately how good they are is judged on wins and losses. And right now, that speaks for itself.

      Like

  3. George

     /  February 19, 2011

    “I didn’t care about the results of this year, I just wanted to see them be a better team at the end of the year than they were at the start. Unfortunately that’s not happening.”

    The problem with this is that it gets ingrained with teams and players as the seasons go on unless there is a big upheaval of talent in the next few years and I’m not certain they be that upheaval.

    “Does this come from coaching or the character of the players, that I don’t know but its a huge issue.”

    It’s a cycle and I think we’ve seen over the years both being the answer. You have to break the cycle and the only way to do that is to get rid of what ails you.

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  4. Howard

     /  February 19, 2011

    Our coaching staff is weak or the players recruited are really stupid, or both.

    Coach says over and over again there are fundamental breakdowns that cause defeats… his words; he also says that the coaching staff goes over and over this stuff every week and that the players still make the same mistakes.

    Wouldn’t it be great for UMass to try and hire Coach Leaman away from Union?

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    • Anonymous

       /  February 19, 2011

      Leaman should have quite a few options in this off season. Like Dennehy he signed an extension recently. Remember both MIchigan State and Penn State are already looking for coaches this year and I know the Lowell fans want Blaise gone so it could be a busy year looking for coaches and there aren’t many out there.

      I will say this right now before someone suggests promoting Red, he is part of the current problem. If UMass were to fire Toot, which I don’t think will happen, the replacement has to come from outside the current staff.

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      • UMass is not firing Toot. This team is heavy with freshman and I think the AD understands that. Plus he just got an extension.

        So all this speculation about prospective coaches is for nothing.

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  5. Gamester

     /  February 19, 2011

    Sheary looked great last night- definitely saw a bit of the playmaker in him.

    Phillips looked slow for most of the night, but man does he have a boomer!

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  6. Mel

     /  February 19, 2011

    The team needs a new coach — it is as simple as that. We see the same thing almost every year, regardless of whether it is a young or veteran team. Undisciplined hockey, mental lapses, defensive lapses — same as it ever was, same as it ever was. Yet stupidly, I will be at Merrimack tonight, hoping against hope that they can finally win a game.

    Like

    • I’m really starting to think it’s time for a new coach. I gave Toot a second chance and went along with the extension but I’m re-thinking that now. Last night I was talking to somebody who said “well we’re young.” I understand that, but Toot also had a great, pretty experienced roster last season that included Wellman, Nolet, Marcou, Irwin, etc. and look where that got us. Nowhere. What’s to say that when this core of Freshmen are upperclassmen that UMass will be playing for anything better than 6th place?

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