Colgate Raiders 7-7-2 (3-4-1) T-4th ECAC
Massachusetts Minutemen 5-6-2 (4-6-1) T-5th Hockey East
Hockey East play is done for the Minutemen until January, but between now and winter break they’ll have three key games against the ECAC. This weekend UMass will host the Colgate Raiders for two of those three contests. In the Raiders the Minutemen will get another shot at facing one of the ECAC’s better teams, just as they did earlier in their game against Quinnipiac. And, if you’re one to look at such a thing so early, they’re also facing a team currently right behind them in the pairwise.
Colgate has a couple strong wins so far on the season against Quinnipiac and Dartmouth while also managing ties against Cornell and Merrimack. They’ve done so with solid offense and defense. Their offense has been spread out pretty evenly on their team with six different players scoring four or more goals so far. Senior Robbie Bourdon has been their top forward with six goals and seven assists. Defenseman Spiro Goulakos has been making contributions on offense with six goals so far, including four on the power play. Also keep an eye on freshman forward Tyler Spink whose 13 points ties Bourdon for the team lead.
The Raiders have a mixture of experience and youth on defense. Seniors Jeremy Price and Thomas Larkin anchor the squad which includes solid underclassmen like Goulakos and Ryan Johnston. In net Colgate has split time with junior Eric Mihalik and freshman Spencer Finney. Mihalik has played most of the games early on but appears to be losing playing time to Finney who has been putting up excellent numbers so far. He currently has a goals against average of .913 and a save percentage of .913.
For UMass I think there are a few goals to try to achieve this weekend and though to Tuesdays game against Yale. First goal is to win. It’d be great to go into winter break with a winning record. It’d be even better to go in two games over .500. These are important games. There is a lot of season left and some wins against teams that will likely finish in the top half of the ECAC would go far. Secondly, I’d like to see the power play get back on track for the Minutemen. What was a huge strength for them to start the season has struggled in recent games, going scoreless in their last 10 attempts. It should be noted that the Raiders have a middle of the pack penalty kill at 82.5%. Lastly, it’s important for the Minutemen to stay healthy. Injuries are a huge factor right now with Evan Stack, Darren Rowe, Troy Power, and Steve Mastalerz all missing games recently. Andrew Tegeler leaving the team makes depth a sudden concern. I’d love to see UMass win these games, but not if it means losing players for the long term.
Beer The Triangle
Back to back home games at the Mullins means an extended visit to the valley’s finest beer establishments. The Hangar will be visited, as usual. But there will be ample opportunity to go elsewhere after tomorrow’s game as well as Saturday afternoon. I am due to take a second visit to the High Horse Brewpub in the old Amherst Brewing Company space. Of course it’s also good to stop by the new ABC, which currently has a Nogne on draft, some of the best Norwegian beer you’ll ever have. A trip to Moan and Dove or the Dirty Truth is always a possibility. I also wouldn’t mind getting up to People’s Pint in Greenfield since I’ve only been up there in summer and they currently have some of their winter beers on. Should be fun.
Coach Mick isn’t planning any major changes against the Raiders according to the Republican preview.
The Gazette had a nice profile of K.J. Tiefenwerth that’s now behind their newly found firewall. It’s going to be very discouraging to suddenly be without Matt Vautour’s thoughts on the program. UMass hockey needs more coverage, not less in my opinion, and I’ll greatly miss Matty’s contributions if that’s the way the Gazette wants to do things. If you have a few minutes, please email the Gazette and tell them that you’d like to access UMass sports coverage.