Quinnipiac Recap

Too little, too late.  It’s nice that once the third period rolled around UMass decided to give it it’s all and begin to mount a comeback, but after sleeping through the first two periods just playing for 20 minutes isn’t going to cut it.  It boggles my mind that this team is not out and ready to play from the get go right now.  Six and a half minutes in the team is already down 2-0, which ends up being the Bobcat margin of victory.  Ten and a half minutes and Quinnipiac is up 3-0.  This UMass team is desperate for some kind of win and momentum and they again come out flat and execute poorly to start a game.  How does that happen?

There were a lot of things that went wrong for the Minutemen yesterday.  Until the third period we saw the lack of offense that has become the trademark for this team in the last few weeks.  They generated only five shots in the first and just five again in the second.  Ten shots total to QU’s 21 in that time.  Overall UMass finished with 21 shots on net, but most of those came from T.J. Syner with 5 and Mike Marcou with 4.  Other guys have to generate some shots on offense.  Mike Pereira and Conor Sheary only had two shots apiece.  Branden Gracel had zero for the game.  And Darren Rowe who played his first game of the season, inserted into the lineup as a forward, also had zero shots.

UMass finally broke their power play streak, but it took 5 chances and a five on three to do it.  Overall the Minutemen finished 1 for 7 on the power play with just 7 shots, four of those coming on the 5 on three.  They had two separate power plays lasting the full two minutes with no shots and two others that lasted over a minute with no shots.

But the biggest factor in yesterday’s game was faceoffs.  UMass was absolutely dominated in the faceoff circle, only winning 16 of 51 chances.  That’s 31% for those scoring at home.  You can’t generate offense if you don’t have the puck.  But possession wasn’t the only problem.  If you watch yesterday’s “highlights”, you’ll see that the first two goals for the Bobcats come immediately off of faceoffs.  You’ll also notice that a Bobcat player is sitting all alone in front of the net to put home the rebound from the initial shot.  Why?  Because on the first goal Oleg Yevenko never picks up his guy following the faceoff.  On the second it’s Conor Allen who does the same thing.  Again, those two goals, coming early in the game, end up being the final margin.

Poor execution and lack of any real sense of urgency to start the games is killing this team.  I think it’s safe to say this team is officially in trouble.  The team is still somewhat young, but even for young teams it’s around this time in the season where you begin to see progress being made.  You see little things that were a problem to start the season no longer become issues.  That’s not happening.  To start the season this team was scoring goals.  A lot of them.  Now they’re unable to manage more than two.  They’re getting solid goaltending, as obviously it’s tough to blame Teglia for those first two with the QU player’s allowed to sit in front of the crease, but they’re not taking advantage of it.  It falls on the coaching staff to address both of these issues.  Locking up guys off the faceoff, faceoff technique, and figuring out the power play has to be the primary focus of practices.  Off the ice they need to figure out what’s going on in the players’ heads that’s leading them to come out onto the ice and coast through large stretches of it.  Hopefully some progress in these area will be seen in the last two games of this ECAC swing.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Joel Hanley
Hanley assisted on both UMass goals and finished the game a +1.

Here’s the recap from the Republican.