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QF Game Two Recap; UMass’ Season Ends

The loss of Danny Hobbs and Kevin Czepiel to injury before Saturday’s game did not put the UMass Minutemen in good position to win the game.  Senior Co-Captain Hobbs, when healthy, has a been a big presence for UMass in front of the opponent’s net and led the team in shots during the season.  Czepiel was the regular center for the fourth line.  When Steven Guzzo left the game with a game misconduct for a hitting from behind penalty just 3:39 minutes into the game, UMass was suddenly at a huge disadvantage.  At that point the team’s centers consisted of Branden Gracel, Eric Filiou, and Adam Phillips.  Yes, defenseman Adam Phillips who last played forward in his second to last year in juniors was one of three UMass center for most of the game.  Yet, despite this adversity, UMass again played the Eagles tough and stuck with them only to ultimately fall by a 3-2 score.

Before the Guzzo penalty UMass would actually take the early 1-0 lead thanks to a Conor Sheary goal started by an excellent pass from behind the net by T.J. Syner who played some great hockey in his last weekend in a UMass jersey.  Unfortunately that lead would be lost soon after the Guzzo penalty.  Playing four on four BC would quickly turn around a UMass giveaway into a breakaway that would give Pat Mullane the tying goal.  Towards the end of the Guzzo major BC would strike for the second time on another break in to the UMass zone and Paul Carey would put home a nice Billy Arnold cross ice pass.  Just like that UMass early lead would be erased.

But UMass would persist.  While the game did not have the smooth flow of the one we saw the night before, due mostly to the incessant shrill of referees’ whistles, UMass would still be able to do a lot.  Even despite their lack of centers.  Overall the team would put 35 shots on Parker Milner, but still had too many times where they could not convert on grade A chances.  UMass would tie it back up on a Joel Hanley goal coming off a great feed from Mike Marcou, a rare time when two defensemen led the rush.  The goal would be reviewed for some reason, even from my seat in the LAST ROW OF THE ARENA I could see it was good, but reviewing any and every goals seems to be some kind of focus for Hockey East officiating for the playoffs so they wasted everyone’s time anyway.  The tie game was short lived though as BC would grab what would end up being the game winner just over a minute later.  UMass would continue to fight but for the most part it never really felt like they’d be able to come all the way back in this one.  BC didn’t play great but they played well enough to keep the Minutemen at bay.  Even while they were only up by a goal they played like they were up by more and you know what, it didn’t matter.  UMass would get their chances on Milner late, but still lacked that one play or player who would find a way to finish a shot effectively to get them a key goal.

After a flurry of skill goals, huge mixture of penalties, and everything else that went on in the first two periods, the third period was pretty tame.  Only a single BC penalty was registered on the score sheet and the game ended with UMass a goal short from extending their season.  It was nice to see the *cough* “experts” at USCHO wrong who said BC would sweep and neither game would be close.  But at the same time, UMass played a team they had beaten twice and were unable to come up with the two wins that would propel them beyond the quarterfinals.  The loss marked the third straight year that UMass’ season ended at Conte Forum and the fifth straight year of the team not making it past the Hockey East quarterfinals.  If there’s a takeway from these two games it’s that the team played hard but were unable to overcome an obviously very good Boston College team nor able to elevate their game to pull off such an upset.  They tried though.  Especially the seniors.  It’s sad that Danny Hobbs’ career ended cheering on his teammates from behind the bench rather than fighting in front of the net as we’re used to seeing.  T.J. Syner had a spectacular weekend.  Mike Marcou assisted on the two biggest goals of the weekend and played solid defense throughout.  And when all was said and done Kevin Moore was out on the ice being the consummate teammate.  If there’s an underlying disappointment to this whole weekend it’s that theses four guys never got to enjoy anything beyond a quarterfinal loss for their careers.

I was going to comment extensively on the officiating, but I’m not going to.  UMass had plenty of chances to tie and take the lead in this game.  The third period was virtually whistle free but UMass was unable to convert any of their 13 shots into goals.  Listen, the officiating tonight by John Gravallese and Dave Hansen sucked.  Flat out sucked.  But I don’t want that turn into an excuse for the fact that UMass failed to capitalize on opportunities all weekend.  Yet it’s important to note that most of the Hockey East fanbases are unhappy with the officiating of late.  Lowell has had what seems to be dozens of goals overturned and Merrimack and Maine fans were just treated to a playoff game featuring 50 penalties.  Fifty!  The fact is that officiating in Hockey East right now is a total joke and there is zero accountability for the continual screwups that we as fans actually have to pay to witness.  But that’s a subject I think I’ll save for a post during the offseason.  It may even feature a picture of Dave Hansen in clown shoes and a red nose.  I hope that guy knows how to hammer a nail into a board because he sure as hell doesn’t know how to officiate a hockey game.

Fear the Triangle Player of the Game
This one goes to Joel Hanley.  Though short-lived his goal allowed the Minutemen to tie it.  He also played excellent defense down the stretch.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thought the officiating from Dave Hansen and John Gravallese was total crap.

Loss leaves UMass livid, says the Boston Herald headline.

Dick Baker details some of the horrid officiating in his recap.

BC wins on disputed goal reads the Gazette headline.

So that’s that.  Another season comes to a close.  The players may be done but I still have a lot more to say about the season that was.  A tentative plan for the coming week has the FTT Player of the Year announced, probably a two part season recap, and my Hockey East award picks.

There is no offseason for Fear The Triangle.  Hell, I just might swing over to Foxboro on Sunday to catch future Minuteman Shane Walsh in the EJHL playoffs.  So make sure to keep checking back for everything new.

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14 Comments

  1. Adam

     /  March 11, 2012

    So many mixed emotions right now.
    Sad and disappointing that we didn’t make a deeper run with a quality team.
    Proud of the fight we put up even with mounting obstacles and adversity.
    Excited for next year with a group of players that can make things happen.
    Tired and voiceless.

    All in all it was an exciting year of hockey.

    Just wanted to mention that the team really does value our support. They told me.
    And as they walked away, I could see in their eyes a sense of getting the short end of the stick. They are frustrated. They have a chip on their shoulders and a new motivation. And next season, they actually have the talent and resources to do something about it.

    Is it October yet?

    Like

  2. Mass Attack

     /  March 11, 2012

    This team always has our support. A frustrating year a time, but you have to be proud of the effort towards the end of the season. I am looking forward to October.

    But it is beyond effing frustrating that the goal that sends them home came on an icing, and right after a hit that from behind that was, at best, just as egregious as the hit they threw Guzzo out for, forcing us into have Adam Phillips have to play center for the whole game. That really is a total joke. I’m not one to complain about refs much, and i don’t want to say that’s the only reason they lost, because it’s not. Syner had a breakaway. Carzo had a mini breakaway. They had chances that they didn’t finish….but it’s so damn frustrating to lose on THAT goal.

    Like

  3. Mel

     /  March 11, 2012

    Hopefully next year this team will be moving to the GAHden and there will be a new head coach. As for this weekend, great effort against the best team in the country. God. If you are listening, please do not allow the hated BC Eagles to win the national championship, or the HE championship for that matter.

    Like

  4. Will

     /  March 11, 2012

    I would love to hear your thoughts on more than just player of the year. I can’t remember if you have done it in past years, but it would be great to get your insight on top freshman, most improved, etc. Thanks for another great year of coverage and I will continue to tune in to read your offseason thoughts. Is it October yet?

    Like

  5. Spotify

     /  March 11, 2012

    Curious if the UMass hockey faithful will accept Toot’s excuses for yet another crappy season. A few big wins, yes. But the team nearly misses the playoffs and- once again- is sent packing the second week of March.

    What will the excuse be this year? Referees sucked at BC? Young team? Losing players to the pros? The beat goes on…

    It’s always something, but one thing is for sure (at least in Toot’s world)… it’s never him or his coaching staff to blame.

    Like

  6. Anonymous

     /  March 12, 2012

    Too bad the seniors never got to the garden. Only senior class in hockey east to not play a game there. Take out of it what you want but I think it says something about the state of the program.

    Like

  7. Anonymous

     /  March 12, 2012

    york to refs pre-game: “please gives us some pp or 5 minute majors to get a lead…it would be nice to eject guzzo who we could not stop on friday…oh and if we board from behind , let it slide so we can keep the puck in the zone…”
    refs response: “sure york your the untouchable bc holy than thou coach…anything you say”

    Like

    • I realize you’re only kidding/venting, but York isn’t really the type to work officials that way. That other coach on Comm Ave however…

      Like

  8. transrapide

     /  March 12, 2012

    I was actually glad to hear Toot vent his frustration publicly..he’s not one to do that, which shows his class. But at what point do you keep your mouth shut as long as things stay the way they are as far as the state of officiating in Hockey East. BC will always get the calls..it’s complete BS but we all know that’s the way it is. It’s too bad the Minutemen get shafted as a result because they played their asses off and deserved better. But it’s about time someone on the “outside” of the HE favored group (BC, BU, UNH et al) stand up and say something. Nothing will be done about it, but at least it’s out there.

    Like

  9. Mike

     /  March 12, 2012

    The end of another frustrating year.The team played well in Boston and mostly well against Merrimack. In the end it’s tough to beat the zebra’s too. No excuses though. We have to give BC credit. Their forwards are really fun to watch.For me, one of the really frustrating issues in watching this team (aside from the obvious ones) has been the forwards inability to bury so many grade A chances throughout the season. This won’t show up as a statistic but a momentum killer at some really bad times.
    rocks, thanks for another outstanding year. The blog continues to improve in major ways and is a great pleasure to read. IMHO we really need some goal scorers.

    Like

    • Yep, lack of finishers was the difference in the series. They could get the puck to Milner no problem but didn’t have the skill to get it past him.

      Like

  10. Anonymous

     /  March 12, 2012

    second your statement re: cahoon’s verbal backlash…it is about time
    he speaks up about this b.s. and stop acting like he is best friends
    with all the coaches – esp. b.c. and b.u….would love to get a statement
    out of h/east officials re: throwing guzzo out of the game!!

    Like

  11. George

     /  March 12, 2012

    Agreed no finishers.
    Toot did most of his bashing walking to the dressing rooms as a period would end. He would work the refs more than any coach I have seen, up 4-1 or down 4-1. He has developed a reputation as a cry baby among Hockey east refs and any calls like Guzzo’s ejection or the non icing and subsequent boarding will not go his way. You don’t need Jerry York’s help.
    Jack Parker does the same thing, but has a little more clout with a couple extra wins in his back pocket.
    Nothing has changed since 2000-01. We as fans and the administration have to decide (after next season) whether you will accept yet another 6-9th place finish or are you ready for the mold to be broken and get a coach that will take this to the next level, even for maybe a shorter time. I realize there is always a romance between coach and players in the first few years that provide results that may exceed over a longer period how good that coach/team really is. But some think it would be kinda cool to go through what Lowell, Western Michigan or heck even Providence is going through.

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