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Cornell Recap

The games were over three weeks apart but with their 5-2 win tonight UMass has now beaten ranked ECAC teams in consecutive games.  On December 7th it was a 3-1 win over #17 Yale team but the win tonight over #13 Cornell is much sweeter.  The Big Red are in first place in the ECAC and came into the game on a hell of a streak, 6-1-1 in their last 8 games with shutouts in 5 of those.  UMass will now face familiar foe Maine for the Florida College Classic Championship tomorrow night.

UMass came out in the first a little flat, which you don’t like to see in a normal game but it makes you very nervous when it comes after such a long layoff.  But they bounced back in the 2nd and really did a good job controlling play throughout the last two periods of the game.  Of course everyone will point to the play of Conor Sheary and the other goalscorers, but one thing that was evident was that the team as a whole played well.  Once again the Minutemen got solid goaltending from Kevin Boyle who took up right where he left off a few weeks ago and saved 27 shots.  Especially evident from the radio broadcast was how active the fourth line of Kevin Czepiel, Troy Power, and Pat Kiley were.  Not only were they doing a good job against the Cornell forwards but it sounded like they did well possessing the puck and even creating some of the better scoring chances against Big Red goaltender Andy Iles.  Mike Marcou had a couple of assists and was praised by Brock Hines for his defensive play as he finished at a +3.  Mike Pereira and Stephen Guzzo continue their strong play with a goal each tonight.

It was good to see the special teams improve as the team went 2 for 4 on the power play, though they’re still struggling on the penalty kill giving up 2 goals on 5 chances.  And while I don’t have the stats in front of me, it sounded like the team improved in the faceoff circle as well.

Tonight’s win was important for the team for a number of reasons.  First, they start the second half of the season on a good note.  Second, while not a true away game, the team picked up their first win away from the friendly confines of the Mullins Center.  Third, they put up 5 goals on a really good goaltender and one of the top defenses in the country.  And so they’ll play Maine, a team they tied last month, in a non-conference game tomorrow.  UMass has played Maine in the championship game in this tournament before, back in 2002, and lost 8-3.  The Black Bears are coming off an impressive win against Clarkson in the tournament opener where they won by a score of 6-1.  The game included 40 infractions for 112 penalty minutes.  With UMass’ struggles continuing on the penalty kill they’ll have to be careful not to be goaded into bad penalties by the likes of Joey Diamond and the rest of the Black Bears.  Cornell tried to goon it up towards the end to get back in the game but for the most part UMass didn’t bite.

Overall tonight’s win was pretty important and for the most part unexpected (the dudes at USCHO didn’t even include it in their weekly picks).  But now UMass has a great opportunity to beat a team they’ll be seeing again in a couple months and pick up some hardware while doing so.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game
Conor Sheary had two goals and assisted on T.J. Syner’s empty netter to seal it.  After going 7 games without a goal through November Sheary now has three goals in his last three games.

Here is the recap from the Republican.

And how the upset looked to the local paper.

Keep in mind that because of the basketball game tomorrow the game can be heard on WMUA, 91.1 or WMUA.org.  Also the live blog was very successful so be sure to join in on the fun, starting at 7pm with pre-game.

New England Hockey Journal gives the Minutemen a D for their first half performance.

USCHO takes a look at what Hockey East teams have to do to be successful in the second half.

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  December 30, 2011

    Hey T.J. how about scoring a goal when someone is in net!!!!!

    Like

  2. Anonymous

     /  December 30, 2011

    haha, seriously tj.

    Very encouraged by the faceoffs last night, hopefully that turns into a trend.

    Like

  3. Anonymous

     /  December 30, 2011

    I saw you were going to do the live blog for games when you arent there, why not keep a live blog for all games? Seemed like a hit.

    Like

    • Too tough to do from my seats while watching the game, cheering on the team, and yelling at the refs. 🙂

      Glad everyone enjoyed it though. Will do it again tonight, but I hope to be at every other game through the end of the season.

      Like

      • Anonymous

         /  December 30, 2011

        I hear ya there. I will be at them all also. Didn’t know if it was
        Something you could just set up and let it go. I got a kick out of reading all the comments afterwards

        Like

  4. Anonymous

     /  January 3, 2012

    umass again shows they have the talent to do serious damage…
    they need to go on a run w/ full confidence

    Like

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