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Sunday Recap

A couple weeks ago UMass dominated top ranked Boston College in Amherst and were able to take a 3-0 lead on the Eagles into the third period.  From there the wheels fell off and the Minutemen would ultimately fall 5-4 in overtime.  This afternoon’s game wasn’t quite the same as the teams battled each other hard for the first two periods and were tied at 1-1 going into the third.  UMass went ahead 2-1 with an early goal but the last half of the period was pretty much dominated by BC and with two goals in the final 11 minutes, BC took the game and the season series.

After the first late loss to BC I pretty much chalked it up to the team getting tired since they were playing with only five defensemen after Joel Hanley was given a misconduct just minutes into the game.  However when looking at that first loss to BC, losing a 2-0 lead at home to Boston University, and today’s loss I think it’s safe to say the team has a problem closing games.  Specifically, given what I’ve seen and how they’ve played in games, this team seems to have a significant issue with late game conditioning.  This team just looks dog tired right around ten minutes left in the third period.  Opponent forwards are still flying around the ice but it seems like a struggle just for UMass to clear pucks in front of the net and get an outlet pass out of the zone.  The Minutemen have now allowed 11 goals from the third period on and only 7 combined in the first and second.  Whether it really is conditioning or something else, UMass is going to have a tough time beating the better teams in Hockey East without finding a way to hold a late lead.

With that out of the way, as you can imagine when the team narrowly loses to the #1 team on their home ice, there was also a lot to be positive of.  Frankly the team looked a little flat to start but I was really impressed by how well they rebounded after BC scored a power play goal just a few minutes into the game.  From there it was both teams playing hard, skating up and down the ice in an entertaining, up-tempo game.  Steven Guzzo had a great game, scoring the first UMass goal and nearly scoring another later on but was turned away by a spectacular save by Parker Milner.  Troy Power had a multiple point game, helping setup Guzzo’s goal and then giving UMass the lead later on.  Except for the late goals the defense again played well.  Joel Hanley returned from injury and Mike Busillo stayed in the lineup with Adam Phillips sitting out.  Kevin Boyle did well and net and certainly looks like he might have an edge in the goaltender battle at this point.

Overall, there is a lot to build off from this game.  This was a tough opponent in a place where the Minutemen don’t have a lot of success, but they scored a couple goals and did a good job keeping the talented Eagles off the board in the first 50 minutes.  With their power play goal tonight UMass has the second best power play in the conference.  And again UMass can proudly say they can play toe to toe with the best team in the country…almost.  Good teams figure out a way to finish consistently.  Friday showed us they’re capable of stepping up and grabbing the win.  Today showed us that they aren’t quite to the point where they can do it as much as they need to.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Troy Power
I’ve thought Power has made solid contributions on offense while playing on the top two lines so far this year so it was good to see him have a breakout game with a goal and assist.  It’s only the second multiple point game of his college career.  His goal also resulted in the first point of the year for Mike Pereira so hopefully the two of them paired with Branden Gracel is a line that will benefit all three of them.

Coach Micheletto says in the Republican game story that he’s not worried about the pattern of losing late in games.

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14 Comments

  1. Todays game was fun to watch and be at. So many good chances that they couldnt convert. Too many times they had a chance to bury the puck and were unable to thanks to good goaltending or mis-shots. And BC had a few opportunities to do the same and had the same fate.

    I agree that they seemed to lose speed over the last 10 min, but I also think BC found another gear when we started to struggle. While its disappointing to lose again after another 3rd period lead, it was encouraging to see them play well at BC, and hopefully they can build off this and take it to lesser opponents.

    I was stunned with the officiating this weekend. 3 penalties against friday (6 total) and only 2 tonight (4 total for game). I’ve seen more than that in just a period! Are teams playing better, or are refs allowing the game to be more open? A little of both I think.

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  2. Maybe I’m being too optimistic here but I see a team that is showing glimpses of being able to play with some of the best college teams in the country.

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    • True. But my worry is last year this team was 3-2-1 against BC and BU. this year they very well could be 3-1-0 but instead are 0-4-0.

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      • Correct Rocks. But under Toot, this was a UMass team that had this propensity to blow their emotional load with these big upsets and they would get so caught up in them, you’d be left scratching your head wondering why we couldn’t beat an undermanned Providence or Northeastern on a given night. My guess is this team finishes where they supposed to finish and it, in the short term, won’t look much different than a Toot Cahoon year end finish. But the road they take to get there will be different. Opening night was a great example. Under Toot, those type of games ended up being much harder than they should’ve been while coach Mick made UConn look like UConn. You follow the personality of your coach. Toot was highly emotional and it was reflected in the teams wildly inconsistent play. I look at Coach Mick on the interviews with Brock on Youtube and he looks exactly the same after a win than after a loss, no change of emotion. This in the long run will benefit this team and once he gets SOME of his players in, my HOPE is this team will gradually ascend.

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        • Yep. Calm and calculated is how I’d describe Mick in those interviews.

          When you say you think UMass will finish right where they’re supposed to, do you mean the 9th place the HEA coaches/media picked or somewhere else?

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          • Sorry FTT, where you picked them. You’re the source!

            https://fearthetriangle.com/page/4/

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            • Haha. Thanks. So you think 7th is fair then I hope.

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              • I don’t know the league as well as you. I think for this year, it would be similar than other years as these are Coach Cahoon’s guys and maybe a new coach gives you a bump up from 8th to 7th or 6th on a good day? I did know coming into this season it wouldn’t be a Lowell type of turnaround. A lot of their success last year I understand was goaltender (being healthy) based.

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                • I figured the players are good enough to get to 6th or maybe 5th in the league, but then hedged it back to 7th to make allowance for getting used to a new coach/system. So far I’m sticking with that prediction.

                  And despite what you write I would say you’ve consistently been one of the most informed FTT commenters, so interested in how you’d pick them.

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  3. Didn’t see the game, but Brock and Adam thought it was not conditioning. They seemed to take a little bit of paragraph two above and basically said they were caught running around against the best team in the country. Based on the game I saw Friday night where they got STRONGER as the game progressed, I’m going to lean toward the #1 team finding an extra gear that we just don’t have. Third period collapses would lead you to believe conditioning, but against teams that have more talent, I’m not buying. This applies to today, two weeks ago and the 2-0 BU lead. But I do admit you have to find a way to close a 3-0 deal in the third period.

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  4. I completely and 100 percent agree with Brock Hines and Adam Frenier that it is not conditioning. I personally believe UMass will figure out what exactly they need to do and fix what is costing them games in the 3rd period. I am not going to give up on this years UMass Hockey team. I truly believe this is a good UMass team they just need to figure out a few things. rocks22 I really hope you do not give up on this team it is still very early in the season. This UMass team will turn it around.

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  5. Does anyone know if the Coach’s Show podcasts are available anywhere? There seems to be only one up on WHMP’s site and I haven’t been able to find them on UMassathletics or iTunes.

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    • I was told they’d be up on the WHMP site as well. Obviously that’s not the case. Unforuntate. Would’ve liked to hear last week’s since I missed it live.

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  6. FTT it wouldn’t let me directly reply to your thread up top. Informed??? Hahaha don’t think so. Just have been following this program since the 90’s, read you a ton and listen or try to go to games as often as possible. That gives me enough to have an ok feel for the league. But informed is a real stretch LOL

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