Bentley Recap

Well, it wasn’t always pretty, but it was a win and UMass fans haven’t seen a lot of those, so I’m not complaining.  What a difference having Danny Hobbs back makes.  After missing the Northeastern game with injury the Hobbs/Syner/Pereira line was reunited for the first time this season and boy did they have an impact.  All in all they accounted for four goals, five assists, and 15 of UMass’ 47 shots in the 5-3 win.  If those three play like they did last night they just may be one of the top lines in all of Hockey East.

Hobbs made his presence known right away as his goal at 3:42 in tied the game at one apiece.  But the nice feed he got on the goal from Mike Pereira should’ve clued us in on the big game we were about to see from Pereira as well.  It was nice to see that three of the five goals came as a result of some really key passing.  The Hobbs goal from Pereira, Troy Power, making his season debut, had an amazing pass to Brenden Gracel for a goal, and then Hobbs returned the favor with a nice setup for Pereira’s second goal.  Pereira didn’t need much help on his first goal as a great individual effort allowed him to come from behind the net and beat Bentley goaltender (and former UMass recruiting target) Branden Komm with a quick release shot.  Pereira completed his hat trick bid with an empty net goal with 10 seconds left.

It was a terrific ending to a game that looked like it would be anything but.  UMass came out very flat at the beginning of the game and the result was Bentley scoring just over two minutes in.  When Kevin Boyle, making his second straight start, was scored on by his former BCHL teammate Alex Grieve it gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.  But whatever was said or done during that intermission did the trick as the Minutemen came out and outshot Bentley 20-3 in the second, but could only manage one goal to tie it.  UMass continued to dominate in the third when the teams were at even strength, but penalties, including a five minute major by Adam Phillips, put them on defense for long stretches in the period.  Though they did give up a goal following Phillips’ misconduct they were able to withstand the Falcons and at the end of the game did such a good job possessing the puck that Bentley was never able to pull the goaltender to try to overcome UMass’ one goal lead.

Besides the top line, UMass got good play again from Colin Shea, who looks to be the most reliable defenseman early in the season.  Troy Power had some very good minutes out on the ice to go with the assist he registered.  Guys like Peter DeAngelo, Eric Filiou, and Emerson Auvenshine continue to play well and earn their spots in the lineup.  Auvenshine seems to struggle at times with the speed of play, still adjusting from the junior level, but the guy’s legs never seem to stop.  He’s always skating at full speed.  Eddie Olczyk had a solid game and even had some key contributions on offense.  As a unit the power play, going 1 for 4, looked decent and through two games is noticeably better than last year’s.

There are a few needed improvements that can be taken from the game.  First is to come out ready to play from the first drop of the puck.  UMass was able to claw its way back into control of the game, but that’s not going to be as easy to do against future opponents.  UMass has to stay out of the box.  That goes especially for Pat Kiley who had three penalties last night.  Though they gave up 2 goals in 5 chances, the penalty kill looked solid.  But penalties themselves were a momentum killer last night.  The one good news out of last night’s penalties is that Phillips’ contact to the head was just a misconduct and will be available tonight.  Speaking of defense, tonight I wouldn’t mind seeing Anthony Raiola inserted into the lineup instead of Oleg Yevenko.  Yevenko looked lost at times last night and might need some more time in practice to get up to speed on hockey at this level.

Tonight should be an interesting one.  Personally I thought Providence would be an improved team this year (I picked them 8th in Hockey East), but I can’t say I thought they would beat #8 Boston University in their season opener.  I can’t imagine anyone thought that would happen.  But it did.  Hopefully UMass can catch them off guard as they’re still thinking about last night, but they shouldn’t count on it.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Mike Pereira
A hat trick and an excellent pass to set up the game’s first goal, this was an easy pick for POTG.  Sophomore slump?  Doesn’t look like it so far.

Here’s the game recap from the Republican.

And from the Gazette.

Providence topping BU wasn’t the only upset of the weekend as Northeastern pounded UNH 4-0.  For those scoring at home UNH has scored exactly 0 goals while giving up 9 in their two games this season.  Lowell was the only other Hockey East team to have non-conference success as they beat Minnesota State 4-2.  Elsewhere Denver beat BC 4-2 and Maine fell to North Dakota 3-1.