Friday Recap

I want to get the negative stuff out of the way up front, because it’s completely outweighed by the positives in this game.  It’s a little disappointing that the team could not hold onto a two goal lead at home for the win, including a one goal lead in the third.  That’s especially disappointing since not once but twice Conor Sheary had a breakaway that could’ve helped put the game away.  The second missed breakaway chance directly led to the two on one that got BU its first goal of the night.  UMass has had numerous breakaway chances this season, from Sheary’s last night to T.J. Syner’s penalty shot, and they’ve had a tough time converting on them.

So there were some missed opportunities that prevented UMass from getting that extra point last night.  But overall fans should be very happy with what they saw.  The biggest positive was the play of the defense and Kevin Boyle.  This looked to me to be the best game by the defensemen on the season as they completely stifled one of the best offenses in Hockey East, holding them to just 23 shots total.  And when shots did get through, Boyle was there to stop them.  It’s tough to fault him on either goal.  He certainly could’ve played the puck better on the first goal, but I’m not going to hang a 2 on 1 on his shoulders.  On the second he couldn’t cover up the rebound and none of the defensemen around were quick enough to clear it out of the front of the net and BU was able to pounce on it and score.  Overall great defensive effort all around.  BU really turned up the pressure when they came out in the third and UMass did an excellent job limiting the damage.  Of course the penalty kill was perfect, stopping BU on all four of their chances and limiting them to only four shots with the extra man.

Offensively UMass generated a ton of shots, 35 total.  If not for some very good play from Kieran Millan, UMass wins this one in a blowout.  The top two lines were able to pressure BU all night and it was good to see a goal come from the second line.  That goal, scored by Conor Sheary, was created when Rocco Carzo had to athletically collect a pass with his knee, played the puck down to his stick, which he immediately fired in the direction of Millan where Sheary put it home.  The first goal came thanks to some excellent passing, first a nice pass down low by Joel Hanley to attack the net where Mike Pereira was able to put it across the slot onto the stick of T.J. Syner who put it home.  Overall I was impressed by the puck movement, which I believe led to the large amount of shots we saw last night.  It was nice to see the top three forwards get back on track after struggling last week.  Syner had a goal which was setup by Pereira and Danny Hobbs led all skaters with 8 shots on net.

It would’ve been nice to get the two points but it was still a positive showing against a ranked team.  It will be interesting to see who is in net.  I’m thinking it will likely be Jeff Teglia since he played well last week and has had success at Agganis previously, gaining a tie there last year.  Hopefully last night helps to give the Minutemen some confidence that they can not only play with a team like BU, but actually control play for the majority of the game.  The opportunity is there for three points tonight, let’s see if they can take it.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – T.J. Syner
Syner’s goal was key for a number of reasons.  It got the Minutemen on the board first and allowed them to dictate what occurred for most of the rest of the game.  It came just seconds after a disallowed goal and quickly dismissed any potential negative momentum that could’ve created.  And it came at the very end of a period and gave the team some confidence going into the locker room.  But the goal, thanks to a great setup by Pereira, isn’t the only reason why Syner was my player of the game.  In the third with BU controlling play and threatening to take the lead, Syner was all over the ice and had some great backchecking work that disrupted several BU rushes.  When people think of Syner they think of his speed and offense, but he’s also one of the better defensive forwards on the team.  That showed last night.

Here’s the recap from the Republican.  I have to say that only 5,300 for a Friday night against BU is very disappointing.  The students showed up, where are all the locals?

The Globe has their BU-oriented recap.

Here’s the Gazette’s game story.