Quarterfinals Preview – UMass at Boston College

#8 Massachusetts Minutemen at #1 Boston College Eagles

The story of the first game when these two teams met was Paul Dainton and wasted power play opportunities.  Dainton absolutely stood on his head, making 19 saves in the first period alone.  He played spectacularly and had to make some really tough saves to keep UMass in the game, which he did for two full periods.  Why did he see so many shots?  Well BC has a juggernaut offense, we know that.  But the Minutemen were completely unable to establish any kind of offense in the BC zone.  Poor passing, weak play in the corners, and inability to solve BC’s forecheck doomed them.  You see this in the first two games against BC as UMass totalled just 16 and 20 shots in those games respectively.  It wasn’t until the third game that UMass did ok in the shot total with 25.  It’s not that their shots went wide or were blocked, though there was some of that, it’s that they didn’t have the puck long enough to get a shot off.

The huge missed opportunity for UMass in that first game was the 5 on 3 advantage when it was still scoreless in the first and the Minutemen were unable to even register a shot on net.  Though to be fair, Phillips did ring one off the post in that sequence.  If UMass had been able to jump on that chance and get the early lead it might’ve been a very different from there on.  Instead the Eagles continued to pound away and once they scored early in the third to go up 3-0 things went downhill quickly and they cruised to the 5-0 win.

The second game looked like it would be very similar with BC carrying the play and taking a lead late in the 1st period.  However a crazy sequence in the 2nd period saw four goals in the span of two minutes and BC took a 4-1 lead.  A couple power play goals would allow UMass to have a chance to tie at the end but were able to come up with the elusive tying goal (story of the season).  Special teams helped and hurt the Minutemen this night.  Their penalty kill failed them early and a couple extra man goals allowed BC to take a 2-0 lead.  The power play though allowed UMass to get back in it but unfortunately as mentioned earlier the loss of Hanley will make it tough to repeat that man advantage success since he scored one and had a hand in the other.  Another defenseman will have to step up in his absence.  The UMass penalty kill did better in the last game against these teams, killing 6 of 7 Eagle chances.  Unfortunately their power play dried up though going 0 for 5.  Paul Dainton again had a great game, stopping 36 shots.  The game was very physical, resulting in 16 total penalties.

It’s important to note that UMass did not score a first period goal in any of the games against the Eagles.  This will have to change this weekend.  While it’s been great to see UMass with these valiant comebacks late in games it hasn’t worked for them as they haven’t translated into wins.  They need to score early.  The other thing that UMass must do is hold onto the puck and, if given the chance, shoot it.  They have to keep the puck in BC’s zone long enough to test John Muse and perhaps more importantly, give Dainton a rest on the other end.  He saw 38 shots a game on average against the Eagles this season.  That’s too much.  They need to limit the amount of pucks he sees.  Some of this can be done by good defense on their end, but in this case I would say a good offense may do more for keeping the puck out of their own net.

With the exception of that third period in the first game, UMass has done a pretty good job at keeping up with this team which many believe could repeat as national champions.  They just need an extra push to turn that competition into completion and find a way to win.  They need to play smart but desperate.  This is it.  Everything should be at full speed.  Every shot, every check should have everything behind it.  Tired?  You have all offseason to rest.  It’s up to UMass to decide whether that offseason starts Sunday, Monday, or sometime later.

Beer The Triangle
I see a trip to the beer wonderland that is the Publick House in my future.

Lots of previews to share.

York says UMass pushed BC to the limit when they played before in this Boston Herald preview.

USCHO does not see a scenario where UMass wins.

College Hockey News has their preview of the Hockey East playoffs.

Expect UMass to be overmatched says Ryan Durling of SB Nation.

Toot wants the team to be physical but stay out of the box says the Collegian preview.

Here’s an article from Ryan S Clark out of Fargo on recruit Oleg Yevenko with some good quotes from his coach.

Matt Irwin is on the verge of setting a rookie record for the Worcester Sharks.

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  1. Carson

     /  March 11, 2011

    it’s definitely good news that BC will be without Chris Kreider.


  2. Anonymous

     /  March 11, 2011

    now if only whitney, cross, muze and a few others could come down with the flu…


  3. Anonymous

     /  March 11, 2011

    washington sq tavern, clown shoe ipa.


  4. Anonymous

     /  March 11, 2011

    have not, if i have time i will have both.


  5. Anonymous

     /  March 11, 2011

    really wish cityside had a better selection.


  6. Anonymous

     /  March 11, 2011

    took advantage of that tonight


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