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Friday Recap

Hockey can be an unforgiving game sometimes.  You can play well for 59 minutes, dominating the game, but sometimes just a minute of lapsed play and an opposing goaltender standing on his head can lead to a loss.  That’s exactly what happened last night.  I absolutely cannot say anything bad about UMass’ effort.  They came out and hit the ice completely ready to play and in terms of effort it was there for the entire night.

As a fan, I have to admire how hard they worked on the ice, generating over 50 shots on the game.  But freshman Casey DeSmith goaltender worked hard as well, making sure he was in great position all night and making the tough saves when he had to.  A number of times it looked like UMass had a chance to beat him but a flash of the glove by DeSmith and the score would remain the same.  While UMass put a lot of shots on net, they ultimately couldn’t get DeSmith moving in his crease to try to sneak more past him.  A lot of the shots were straight on allowing DeSmith to position himself correctly.  Another thing to note is that while UMass did generate a ton of shots, surprisingly few of them came from the top two lines.  Mike Pereira had just two shots as did T.J. Syner.  Stephen Guzzo had just one while Eric Filiou didn’t have any.  Third liners Rocco Carzo and Pat Kiley totalled 14 shots together.  It’s good to get a lot of pressure on the goaltender and a lot of times just peppering him will lead to goals, but at the same time you’d like those shots to come from your most skilled goal scorers.

Looking through the scoresheet it’s amazing this game ended as a 4-3 loss for the Minutemen.  Shots were 51-29 in their favor, including 25 in the second.  There have been entire games this season where UMass has failed to gain 20 shots total.  The Minutemen were equally dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 41 faceoffs to UNH’s 24.  Steven Guzzo and Eric Filou did amazing work at the faceoff dot, taking 11 of 16 and 11 of 17 respectively.  UMass picked up a power play goal and were only sent to the box themselves twice.  They killed the Wildcats’ only power play opportunity.  While not spectacular, the team got solid goaltending from Kevin Boyle.  It’s always easy to say a goaltender should’ve done this or that but honestly UNH’s goals either came on screens or defensive breakdowns.

Defensive breakdowns.  As I said, you can give amazing effort for 60 minutes but if you fail to execute, even only for a period as short as 17 seconds, the entire game can turn in the other team’s favor.  Early in the third the Minutemen tied it thanks to a Joel Hanley goal but just a few minutes later some bad decision making gave it right back and then some.  Seven minutes into the period the defensive pairing of Colin Shea and Connor Allen had a lapse in play.  One of them (the Gazette and Republican differ on who did what and I don’t remember myself) got caught too deep in the offensive zone which led to a two on one break for the Cats and a UNH goal.  Only seconds later Mike Marcou and Joel Hanley got stuck watching and UNH had another breakaway and another goal.  That was the game.  17 seconds.

While UMass was giving their all and losing Northeastern upset Maine 4-2 by scoring the final three goals of the game.  So as UMass heads into tonight they’re in 9th place and out of the playoffs, two points behind the Huskies.  Of course the Huskies’ win also gives them the edge in the second tiebreaker scenario, conference wins.  The Minutemen no longer control their own destiny.  They have to find a way to win starting tonight and become Black Bear and Terrier fans from here on out.  A duplication of last night’s effort will be a good start to getting a win tonight.

Dick Baker says there wasn’t much to criticize from last night.

In the Gazette’s recap Dick Umile says his team was lucky to get the win.

Here’s the game story from the Wildcat viewpoint.

CHN’s Josh Seguin has his takeaways from the game.

Playoffstatus.com gives UMass a 26% chance of making the playoffs.

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19 Comments

  1. gary

     /  February 25, 2012

    DeSmith had the game of his life. Im really hoping umass comes out ready to win tonight, but im not sure they’re capable of putting out that kind of effort two nights in a row. that was a frustrating game to watch.

    Also, it be nice to see some more people tonight. We’re fighting for a playoff spot and playing UNH and can only get 4000 fans at a game? Really hoping for at least 6000, but nothing beats a game with a good 8000 fans.

    Like

    • Yeah, I was very surprised at the attendance or lack thereof. Especially against a name like UNH, even though they’re in a down year.

      Like

    • Sam M

       /  February 25, 2012

      This is probably largely because of the low attendance, but I also noticed that for most of the game the crowd wasn’t as into the game as usual.The first five minutes especially were very strange – the crowd was almost silent, and neither team was really doing much. I was honestly kind of bored at first. Fortunately things started to pick up after that.

      Like

  2. Will

     /  February 25, 2012

    It was Shea that got caught deep and Allen did not do very well on the 2v1. He tried to play the pass to allow Boyle to be aggressive on the shot, and really did a horrible job once the pass went across the crease for the goal.

    Also, I think the 4th line deserves a big shout-out for their strong play. They got a lot of time and looked very solid in my mind (offensively at least). Their line was -1 on the night, but they had their legs moving and looked promising. I would assume Tegeler, Olczyk, and Czepiel are all called upon again tonight. We shall see. Any thoughts ?

    Like

  3. George

     /  February 25, 2012

    Hopefully we see Tegeler, especially. Gracel in for Olczyk. Tegeler has an energy, but his lack of game time showed as was correctly pointed out on the radio….block the shot or get out of the way on the first UNH goal.

    Like

  4. Anonymous

     /  February 25, 2012

    Who was the one who set up Kiley and Carzo consistently all night which allowed them to generate pont blank chances????

    Like

  5. Anonymous

     /  February 25, 2012

    pc gets 1 goal in three games against bc….we beat bc twice, yet cannot beat pc a single time….tough to swallow…
    the fans will always be fired up if we take the lead…but all season we are falling behind in the first period…silencing the crowd

    Like

  6. Anonymous

     /  February 25, 2012

    please play gracel every game until he graduates…that pass was a thing of beauty

    Like

  7. Anonymous

     /  February 26, 2012

    Gracel is soft in the D zone and get beat frequently, and is one of the most opportunistic players on this team. He deserved to sit, his effort sucked tonite and he’s over rated

    Like

    • I actually noticed a couple times he was able to knock the puck loose through his backchecking.

      Like

    • Anonymous

       /  February 26, 2012

      And the ripping of players continues. You are a freakin joke. Where did you play
      College hockey?

      Like

  8. Anonymous

     /  February 26, 2012

    gracel is a gifted sniper w/ great hands and great speed

    go umass kill merrimack friday!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  9. Carson

     /  February 26, 2012

    love how 99% of the bashing of players comes from anonymous posters…i actually think that on most nights gracels effort is terrific and i dont think he is any more “opportunisitic” than any of the other offensive-minded players on this team

    Like

    • Anonymous

       /  February 26, 2012

      Just realized this kid was on a college hockey blog at 2am on a Saturday night ripping college kids Probably a fat 40 year old virgin living in his
      Moms basement.

      Like

  10. Anonymous

     /  February 27, 2012

    Youre a sharp pencil anonymous… I am a fat 40 year old virgin, living in my mom’s basement.. Would love to meet you though

    Like

  11. Anonymous

     /  February 27, 2012

    Keep rippin 40 year old fat vigins who live in their moms basement on college hockey blogs tool

    Like

  12. Bring something to the table or don’t comment at all.

    Like

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