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Vermont Catamounts 1-7-1 (0-6-1)  Hockey East 10th

vs

Massachusetts Minutemen 4-5-3 (2-5-3) Hockey East T-8th

 

Vermont is not good.  Not good at all.  The Catamounts are winless in Hockey East and have managed just one win on the season.  Not only are they found at or near the bottom of all major statistical categories among Hockey East teams, but among the worst in all of college hockey.  Quite frankly, if UMass wants to be seen as a team that has a legitimate chance of success this season then there is absolutely no way they can drop a game to Vermont tomorrow.

Offensively or defensively this Vermont team has major issues.  In terms of scoring the Catamounts are averaging just over 2 goals a game, almost an entire half goal behind Northeastern who is 9th in the league.  UVM has scored only 19 goals all season and 8 of those have come from just two players, Viktor Stalberg and Connor Brickley.  No one else on the team has more than two.  In terms of scoring margin they’re third worst in all of college hockey, behind only winless Sacred Heart and Alabama-Huntsville.  Their power play is second worst among Hockey East teams at 14.8%.  Of course the worst power play team in the league, Northeastern, has scored 75% of their power play goals against UMass.

As bad as Vermont has been offensively, they’re even worse on defense.  They’re allowing almost four and a half goals per game so far, only Sacred Heart is worse in the country.  Their penalty kill is dead last in the country at 65% (UMass’ is 4th worst at 72.5%).  It seems like a very long time ago when Rob Madore was putting up stellar numbers as a freshman.  So far this year he has a bloated goals against of 4.60 and a save percentage of .856.  While he has still played the majority of the games, there’s a chance he could sit out tomorrow since he played both games over the weekend.  If that’s the case expect to see sophomore Alex Vazzano in net who has a goals against of 3.61 in two starts on the season.

This is really a statement game for UMass.  While they’re only on a one game losing streak, they really haven’t played solidly since beating Holy Cross.  They were able to beat Northeastern despite not having a good game and then tied Maine this past Friday after allowing them a 2-0 lead.  But not being mentally ready caught up to them in a big way as they got spanked by Lowell 4-0 Saturday, managing just 16 shots on the game.  Playing the Catamounts will give them an opportunity to get back on track with what was a big asset to start the season, the power play.  After having one of the best in the conference in the first couple months they’ve now gone 0 for their last 12.  They have to be able to rectify that against the worst penalty kill in the country.  That means cycling the puck down low again and getting guys in front of the net.

Beyond that the improvement needs to happen between their ears.  I realize Friday was a physical game and affected them the next night but this is a long hockey season.  They have to figure out how to persevere through being banged up or tired.  There’s really no excuse for what happened on Saturday.  You can’t always depend on great execution, but the effort should always be there.  You absolutely cannot take nights off in this league.  The points are too tough to come by.  If they had found a way to compete and win against Lowell they’re in a much different place right now.  In fact they’d be tied for fourth.  Instead they’re tied for 8th and if they don’t pick up points tomorrow it’s very likely they’ll be starting the new year as the 9th place team in Hockey East.  For a team with high hopes to start the season and a win against top ranked Boston College under their belt, that would be tough to swallow.

Beer The Triangle
Anyone making the trip up should remove their hats and hold a moment of silence as they pass by Exit 10 on I-89.

Here’s the Collegian’s view of the weekend that was.

“The Minutemen aren’t a terrible team — after all, they did beat Boston College two weeks ago — but they sure played like one Saturday.”

Merrimack College.  Your #1 team in the country?  Wow, that does look weird.  Good for them though.

Not much to celebrate from this past weekend but Steven Guzzo and T.J. Syner’s recent performances were mentioned in this week’s Hockey East release.

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5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  November 22, 2011

    go umass-dominate uvm!

    Like

  2. mel

     /  November 22, 2011

    Well – anyone got that fork?

    Like

  3. Anonymous

     /  November 24, 2011

    hah! UVM sucks??? I guess U MASS sucks worse!

    Like

  1. Around Hockey East: 11/22 | Husky Hockey
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