Saturday Recap

Another solid game by the Minutemen but unfortunately another tight loss.  UMass has now lost four straight games, all to top 5 teams, by the margin of one goal.  It seems that they’re getting close to being a good team, but obviously not close enough.  Though Boston College swept the season series, UMass played them tough for 8 of the 9 periods they played.  Only the third period of the meeting earlier this month at Conte Forum did the Minutemen look completely overmatched.  Hopefully it bodes well for the future that this team full of freshmen played so well against one of the favorites for the national championship.

The difference last night was penalties.  UMass took way too many of them.  It’s tough enough to generate offense against this Eagle team, but even tougher when you’re constantly killing penalties.  The penalty kill did play very well, only giving up one power play goal on 7 opportunities, but the constant line of guys going to the box made it extremely challenging to come back after BC went up by 2.   UMass was down a man for nearly 10 minutes of game time.

It was good to see the team improve on their dismal faceoff performance the night before, winning 31 of 65.  Anthony Raiola had a very good night and is making the case to be an every day player next year after Doug Kublin graduates.  He had an excellent pass which set up T.J. Syner’s goal.

Overall the team did what I had hoped they would for the weekend, even though they weren’t able to pick up any points.  But they did play well and they played consistently throughout both games.  There were no dropoffs in effort or execution which haunted them for most of the season.  These games against top teams has shown that the team is making some progress.  Just how much progress they’ve made and if they can turn that progress into wins will be seen next weekend when they have to face a suddenly dominating Maine team.  The Black Bears swept Merrimack by a combined score of 11-1 over the weekend and are battling for home ice.  But UMass has something to play for as well and with Providence and Vermont losing last night they control their own destiny.  For UMass, the playoffs start this coming weekend.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Paul Dainton
Dainton and his 36 saves helped UMass stay in the game and have something to play for at the end.  Dainton is playing some of the best goaltending of his career here as his time at UMass winds down.

Jerry York says UMass helped create a playoff atmosphere for BC this weekend in the Boston Globe.

Dick Baker has the recap for the Republican.