Frozen Fenway Recap

It wasn’t a dominating win and at times the execution looked poor, but UMass did what they needed to do and got the win over Vermont 3-2 in overtime at Fenway Park.  The win lifts UMass into a tie with Northeastern for 7th place.  I won’t get too much into a game analysis as, not unexpectedly, I didn’t exactly have the best view to truly try to breakdown the game.  But overall there’s a lot to like about the win.  The fact that they fought hard to get it, that Jeff Teglia finally picked up his first career win despite strong performances in the past, and Mike Marcou was the hero with the game winner as he continues to improve his play in his last season at UMass.

UMass’ scoring was opened by Eric Filiou who got a goal just seconds after Vermont took the 1-0 lead on a power play with Filiou in the box.  Despite the couple penalties he picked up, he played very well, dominating in the faceoff circle in addition to picking up that goal.  Overall UMass held a large advantage in faceoffs, winning 39 to Vermont’s 25.  Danny Hobbs had a good game, turning a Vermont turnover into a quick goal by going five hole on Rob Madore. He finished the game with 6 shots and a +2, both team highs.

The team improved somewhat on special teams.  They went 1 for 4 on the power play, which is an improvement from recent trend.  The power play goal was of course the key since it won the game as Michael Paliotta went off for the Cats for a hit from behind.  UMass killed 5 of 7 power plays for Vermont, who seemed to get the benefit of a lot of calls from what’s probably the worst officiating crew in the league.  With no other Hockey East games scheduled how are Kevin Keenan and Jeff Bunyon the choice to officiate?  And is it fair to give UMass Bunyon twice within three days?  All in all Vermont had over 14 minutes of power play time and both their goals came with the extra man.  It is a positive that UMass didn’t give up any goals even strength.

That’s not to say that UMass didn’t deserve some of the penalties.  And once again Pat Kiley took another bad penalty at the worst possible time.  In the waning minutes of regulation his hitting from behind major and subsequent embellishment when UVM retaliated could’ve giftwrapped the win for Vermont.  Thanks to some quality penalty killing that held the Cats to just two shots during the five minute major, that didn’t happen.  Still, it showed that Kiley continues to be a liability for this team when he’s on the ice.  He’s second on the team in penalties and PIM despite playing in only half the games so far.  He plays well at times, including a nice setup earlier in the game on Filiou’s goal, but that doesn’t make up for the bad situations he puts the team in.  I hope Cahoon seriously considers whether having him on the ice is worth the risk.  Personally I don’t think it is.

Overall, it was a great experience.  I enjoyed seeing such a large contingent of UMass fans show up and be loud for their team.  I hope they enjoyed it enough to come see the team at the Mullins and on the road.  For the team I’m glad they were able to overcome the atmosphere and conditions and come away with a much needed win.  A loss, or even a tie, would’ve been devastating.  Instead they find themselves back in the playoff picture and having a record of 3-1-2 in their last six.  With the circus of the Fenway game behind them, it’s time to concentrate on a big matchup with #4 Boston College this Friday at home.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game
Having a power play with just seconds left allowed Mike Marcou to crash the net and it paid off as he ended up being the hero of the game.  A target of much past criticism from parts of the UMass fanbase, Marcou is proving the haters wrong.  He now has 12 points on the season and his +5 rating is second best among defensemen on the team.

I’m sad to report that hockey photographer and UMass fan Dennis Pause collapsed on the field before the start of the UMass-UVM game and passed away.  I never met Dennis but I did interact with him on the FTT Facebook page at times, most recently being this last October when he shared pictures of some of his gameworn jersey collection.  My thoughts go out to his family and friends at this time.  For those who want to see his fine work, you can check out his Flickr account or galleries on Inside Hockey.  They held a moment of silence for Dennis prior to the start of the Maine-UNH game.

Matt Vautour points out it was a Yankees fan who ended up delivering for UMass at Fenway.  Plus he offers his thoughts on the Fenway experience itself.  It was very cool and I’m glad I was able to experience it, but truthfully I’ll be happy to be sitting in good old Section U come Friday.  The ballpark thing just leaves you feeling detached from the game itself.

Dick Baker says UMass lived out it’s own “Impossible Dream”.

Scott McLaughlin of College Hockey News has a feature on Danny Hobbs.  His CHN colleague Joe Meloni has one on the UMass-Vermont rivalry, making many of the same points I made over the summer when discussing rivalries.

The Burlington Free Press said the game added an interesting twist to the rivalry.

Toot relates Marcou’s gamewinner with a David Ortiz walk-off in the Globe’s recap.

Walkoff Winner is the headline for the Herald.