Advertisements

Providence Recap

I have to admit, they fooled me.  Despite this team’s trend to play up or down to the level of their opponent and their ability to drop the must-win games while pulling off miraculous upsets against the nation’s best teams, I was fooled.  After Friday’s game against #1 BU where they beat the top ranked team for the second time this season and picked up their first road win thanks to a complete 60 minute effort from the entire squad, I thought this team had finally figured shaken off whatever has plagued them through this disappointing season.  Nope.  In a continuation of what we’ve seen not just this year but in other recent years, after being giant killers the night before UMass dropped a game they needed to win against an opponent they should’ve competed better against.  As a result you have a Minuteman squad that has beaten the #1 team in the country twice, has a .500 record in the 11 games they’ve played against ranked teams, yet if the playoffs started today they would not be participating (as Northeastern wins the tiebreaker with more conference wins)

Despite the lip service about the team moving on from the BU win immediately after to make sure they were ready to take care of business at home against Providence, they weren’t.  The Friars scored on their first shot of the game, just three minutes into the contest.  A minute and a half later and Providence was up 2-0.  That was it right there.  Game over.  UMass did a lot later in the game, came back to cut the lead to one, looked dominant at times, had an amazing performance by Mike Pereira.  But the fact of the matter is the outcome was decided when UMass came out flat to start the game and handed the Friars a two goal lead.  Sure, the team would turn it on at times, playing good hockey for five to ten minutes and scoring a couple goals or pressuring the Friars.  But then they’d lapse again and miss opportunities or allow Providence to build upon their lead.  After playing a full 60 minutes the night before UMass probably put in about 25 or 30 last night, broken up into about five minute intervals.

I think everyone not named Mike Pereira can look in the mirror this morning and say they could’ve and should’ve played better last night.  After having perhaps his biggest win of his career the night before Kevin Boyle struggled mightily, still unable to shake the inconsistent performance issues that have followed him from juniors.  The defense in front of him didn’t do him many favors.  Whereas on Friday they were successful in limiting BU’s attack on Boyle and quickly swept away any loose rebounds, last night the Friars had free reign in the slot and behind the net without consequences.  Amazingly UMass, a team that averages 6 or 7 penalties a night, only had two total last night.  Even more amazingly, they allowed the Friars to score on both resulting power plays.

Coach Toot Cahoon opened his postgame press conference by asking those in attendance that if we can understand (how) this team (works/thinks) to tell him.  Disbelief and puzzled is how he described his own thoughts when seeing how unprepared the team looked in the first.  On one hand I feel for him because it’s very rare that he doesn’t talk about the steps he takes to try to make sure the team is mentally prepared for the challenge of each and every game.  He doesn’t blow off the subject, I honestly believe he’s trying to address this issue which has absolutely plagued this program in the last five years.  On the other hand, it’s apparent that his approaches are not working.  I’m beginning to think it has less to do with what he and the other coaches say or do in practice or before games and that it has more to do with the character of the players he recruits.  It’s great to get the players who skate the fastest, have great size, or a quick glove to come and play for UMass. But if as a group they lack the ability to focus on the challenge at hand or are not mentally tough to play highly competitive college hockey, what good is all that skill?  The coaching can take some of the blame for not bringing in the right mix of players and their inability to motivate them when they get here.  But at the same time these players aren’t kids.  Most are 20 or older.  They shouldn’t need someone to tell them that Saturday was a must win.  They’re old enough and smart enough to know themselves.  Or at least one would’ve thought so.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game
It hasn’t been the easiest sophomore season for Mike Pereira.  He has struggled at times and was even benched for neglecting his defensive duties on the ice.  But, he has fought through it and played some great hockey as of late.  Last night he absolutely did his best to put the team on his shoulders and carry them to a win.  All three goals on the way to his hat trick were great individual efforts.  In addition he did a good job defensively and on the forecheck, which led to goal number two.  Last night’s hat trick gives him six goals in the last four games.

Here’s the recap from the Republican.

Advertisements
Previous Post

22 Comments

  1. UMassHazMatKat

     /  February 12, 2012

    Great recap- I definitely have to agree with you regarding the players being partially to blame for the teams inconsistency despite the fact that a lot of the loyal fans are blaming the coaching at this point. I had the chance to speak with a few of the players just before the break in a very informal atmosphere. A players young cousin was with them and the kid was quizzing me about who the best line was and who the best players were, what the player’s numbers were. That said I raised the comment that 14,7,11 is our strongest line and one of the players responded “too bad the coach won’t play us together more” while this comment is a fair response the though process lends a good snapshot into the overall mentality in the locker room. The individual that said this is a team captain or assistant captain, if this is what the team leader’s are saying about the coach what is the overall attitude toward the coach in the locaker at this point. Even the greatest coaches in history hardly stand a chance of a succesful season when the locker room is slanted against them this much. In previous years we saw a few successful standouts that typically would start to showboat themselves after the break and the “team” effort would fail as a result. This year we have kids that typically play as a team even to the point of appearing selfless at times where one kid gives up a good shot on net to pass to a teammate that has the chance to get the hat trick. However this year we have such a strong depth of talent there is NO EXCUSE to be winless on the road thru Feb and have such poor consistency, whe you combine the talent with the team effort.

    Maybe the kids that are bucking the coach should be healthy scratches regardless of goals, assists, penalities or +/- rating. As for the 2 penalties in last nights game being a team low- this canNOT be attributed to overall discipline as they appeared to play in the 5 min increments you mention. Defenseman left their positions and left half the ice wide open on several occasions during the first. A player fanned on a pass, then in the same play the same players fans on a shot less than three feet off the net. It surprised me that Toot gave Boyle the nod last night regardless of how well he played against BU, at this point Mastalerz is the primary, Boyle is your backup and Teglia-well… he’s become the doorman to be frank.

    One positive note -aside from Mike P’s heroic effort last night, TJ Syner had one amazing game-don’t know if anyone else noticed how intense he played last night. The kid stepped up his play for most of the night and took a beating from most of the Providence players last night. Kudos to TJ aand Mike both for showing up last night. Was great to see Darren Rowe on the ice tonight, didnt really have a whole lot to brag about last night but he saw ice time. Mike Busillo looked very sharp for a FRESHMEN and I will emphasize that part. Even Yevenkho had a decent night, given that he didnt take any penalties, for that reason only.

    In defense of our penalty kill line last night, Providence appears to be a team that has a very strong power play line and it is difficult to kill off a penalty against them when they are skating tight circles around your PK players pulling people out of position, disorienting players, it is a given it is not if they score it is when will they score.

    Simply put their heads clearly weren’t in this game-shouldve put alot more pressure on Prov in the offensive zone earlier in the game as UMass has been very successful during the entire season when doing this.

    Like

    • Anonymous

       /  February 12, 2012

      players don’t respect the staff , if all the returning players come back , don’t see any impact players coming in next year’, what you see is what we get next year .. same thing was going to happen at lowell and providence you see what they did .. umass AD do your job before we lose returning players and if you think this year has been so bad wait till next year with the same staff , time for the coach to step down and take his staff with him ..good luck team , still not out of it yet

      Like

    • Good thoughts, Kat. Thanks.

      Like

    • Anonymous

       /  February 14, 2012

      The coach has tried a number of times to have Boyle play back to back games and it has not worked. He plays well the first night and bombs the second. I agree that I think Masterlerz is the goalie to go with. Look at UNH, Umile changed to DeSmith after Christmas, let him get used to playing back to back nights and get comfortable in net and now UNH is playing like the UNH that you expect, the goalie situation affects the team. The coach also can not roll 4 lines all the time and think they are going to win. The top teams (BC, BU, even Lowell) only use their 4th line sparingly, statically the 4th line is all in minus. Our top 2 lines can play with anyone. It is not that difficult to get.

      Like

  2. Mel

     /  February 12, 2012

    The famous Eddie Andelman blame pie is shared by all when it comes to the inconsistency of this team. However, at some point I believe one needs to look at this and say, “this has gone on for three years now and it may even be getting worse. I think we need to go in another direction when it comes to the head coach.” Toot played a key role in making this team a tough competitor and elevating them from the Laughingstock Division of Hockey East, and for that we should be thankful. My biggest fear is, the longer he stays the faster we sink toward league bottom feeder and the more work required when they finally do bring in a new head coach.

    The wins against the top competition this year have been awesome. Everything else, not so much.

    Like

  3. Carson JR.

     /  February 12, 2012

    Pereira showed why he’s a top forward in the league last night. Aside from him no one played well. I think you have to keep him and Sheary together being that they are our best 2 forwards skill wise. It’s good to see pereira showing up in February to do everything he can to lead this team as he showed last night. Captain next year? He sure played like it last night.

    Like

    • Carson

       /  February 12, 2012

      I agree Pereira if he doesnt go the Casey Wellman route should be captain next year…seems like all the other players like him and has shown he can play like a leader (on nights like last night for example)

      Like

      • Anonymous

         /  February 12, 2012

        Being a great player doesn’t necessarily make you a good captain. There are other factors that should be considered as well.

        Like

        • Carson

           /  February 13, 2012

          i dont think either of us said he should be captain based on his play

          Like

  4. Anonymous

     /  February 12, 2012

    I agree with the post that at times pereira has been inconsistent this year or struggle at times, but sometimes we just expect him to score every game. He is just a sophomore. He didn’t score in 5 or 6 games and still has 15 goals. Imagine if he had a few during those games. I think with his game he just is still somewhat raw. Has the tools,skill,obviously the speed. just needs to become a little stronger where it matters in the corners etc and i think he will be able to dominant consistently in games. With his frame I can easier see him carrying 10 more pounds on him.

    As of captain i think he could be an option. Coaches benched him for his lack of defensive effort. I think he has shown he is being more committed to the defensive zone. working on becoming a more complete player which is a good sign.

    As far as the team. they take terrible angles on the ice very easy to just chip the puck off the boards and go around us. we need to attack with pressure and retreat and cause a turnover and transition. The way the team is built is off speed and we need to take advantage of this by causing turnovers and having quick transition.

    Need a win in maine or plan your spring break!

    Like

    • Amazingly, Pereira had a stretch where he only scored one goal in 12 games. To still be able to put up the numbers he has despite that shows how much talent he has.

      Like

  5. Anonymous

     /  February 12, 2012

    I understand that pereira could have gone to a number of other hockey east teams 2 years ago ,but when the other 2 guys left school early he should have read the writing on the wall ,that here was something going on .. wasn’t his brother captain of BU a few years ago .. lets get the captains of this year team to step it up and keep everyones head in the game and play for each other .. go umass

    Like

  6. Anonymous

     /  February 12, 2012

    from what i been told pereira would of been allowed to go to yale if he was accepted or chose too. BU fan told me last year that his brother said BU didn’t have the money and needed him to go play a yr of juniors.

    Maybe he just wanted to go to a school though where he knew could be a factor right away to leave early. I sure hope he doesn’t leave early. I think he has a chance to be a special player for the minuteman. And the sophomore class is pretty good

    Like

  7. Anonymous

     /  February 12, 2012

    we need wins!!!!!!!! badly!!!!!!!

    Like

  8. Anonymous

     /  February 12, 2012

    stunned by last night….saw the 4-4 tie in january and thought umass’ speed etc. would
    destroy pc on the big sheet @ mullins….umass bigger and faster
    but i am embarrassed as an alum to see another team play w/ more heart and guts than us….we came out w/ the intensity of ZERO…how they allow 2 to BU and then 5 to pc is beyond me….where is shea and phillips? hurt or benched?

    Like

    • I was told that Shea missed last week’s games due to violation of team rules. Not sure what his deal is currently. I believe Phillips has been a healthy scratch.

      Like

      • Anonymous

         /  February 12, 2012

        Shea did not violate team rules

        Like

        • Just passing along what I heard from a source close to the program. Perhaps they got Shea confused with Allen, who sat a game for team rules issues.

          Like

        • Carson

           /  February 12, 2012

          so anonymous are you saying shea has been a healthy scratch too?

          Like

  9. Bob

     /  February 12, 2012

    We have given up the second most goals in the conference. This is why we’re on the outside looking in for playoffs. Granted goalies and defense play a factor. But we need to be better in the defensive zone!!

    Like

  10. Anonymous

     /  February 13, 2012

    3 games vs bu we are 9 gf vs 9 ga (incl two when bu had their top 2 players)

    3 games vs pc we are 12 gf vs 15 ga and pc was annihilated by bu twice several weeks ago

    just pondering this insanity comparision against results vs two completely different talent level opponents…….umass’ defense in first two periods reminded me of a mite teams d where
    the kids see trouble and simply skate back to stand in front of their goalie…instead of attacking the puck carrier immediately and engaging diagonally and “marking up” the opponents attacking forwards….that said, go umass beat maine!

    Like

  11. Anonymous

     /  February 13, 2012

    Hopefully they can do in maine what they did up there 2 years ago late in the year.

    Like

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: