Providence Recap

If you had told me that after three games UMass would have the third best offense of Hockey East teams at 4 goals a game and the second best power play I’d have been pretty happy.  However, UMass has not been able to make the most of their offensive production and through two games against teams they’ll likely be battling in the standings UMass has been able to capture just one point.  Despite another four goal game last night, two coming on the power play, UMass got the loss because defense and more specifically goaltending let them down against Providence.

If there are positives last night it is that the team kept battling to get back into the game throughout and that the top line of Danny Hobbs, Mike Pereira, and T.J. Syner continues to put up a ton of numbers, accounting for two goals and four assists last night.  With some average goaltending UMass likely gets the win and the two points last night.  I believe I wrote earlier in the week that with Jeff Teglia over the flu, it seemed like a logical decision to have Kevin Boyle make his home debut Friday and put Teglia in last night because he was at least familiar with the rink, one where UMass has struggled in recent years.  How that scenario would’ve turned out, we don’t know.  But what we do know is that Jeff Teglia looked solid and stopped all 8 shots in relief of Boyle and that Boyle let in a number of goals that he shouldn’t have.  At least three of them.  And let’s face it, his defense made some key mistakes that led to some of the other goals as well.  And speaking of defense, where is Anthony Raiola who played so well at the end of last season?

It wasn’t just the bad goals that hurt, the timing of them hurt immensely and killed any momentum UMass was generating.  After going down 2-0 in the first, Danny Hobbs put the Minutemen on the board just 1:15 into the second.  But 45 seconds later an inexcusable shorthanded goal gave the Friars the two goal lead back again.  Later in the period a power play goal by Hobbs cut the PC lead to 4 to 3, but again a soft goal was let in just a minute later that gave the Friars a two goal lead again.  That goal ended Boyle’s night.  Unfortunately UMass was unable to get their offense going until late in the 3rd when Conor Sheary scored with under 5 minutes left and never got that elusive tying goal.

Am I worried about Boyle’s performance?  Not really.  At least not any more than I am about Teglia’s or Steve Mastalerz.  He played very well at Northeastern and played well enough Friday against Bentley to get his first win.  But it does show that a quick resolution to the team’s goaltending issues is not going to happen.  That’s why I think it’s important over the next few months to give each goaltender a shot at games and not stick with one for more than a couple.  That means getting Teglia in in a game like last night and getting Mastalerz some time when he returns from injury in a few weeks.

As much as it would’ve pained me, I wish if UMass dropped a game this weekend it would’ve been Friday’s.  Losing to an Atlantic Hockey team is never good for the program, but UMass really could’ve used 2 to 3 points out of these early games against Northeastern and Providence.  Instead they only got one.  Now begins probably their toughest stretch of the season.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Danny Hobbs
Not only did Hobbs score a couple goals last night, both were at critical times in the game that, however briefly, gave UMass a shot a comeback.  Five points in two games.  Not a bad start to the senior season.

Here’s the recap from the Republican.

I guess the good news for UNH is that they actually scored a goal against Boston College, their first of the season.  The bad news is they lost 5-1 and are now 0-3 to start the season.  Elsewhere Merrimack got a bit of a scare from Army but won 3-2.  BU rebounded from Friday’s loss to Providence by beating #3 Denver.  Maine tied North Dakota while Lowell completed a sweep of Minnesota State out west.