Saturday Recap

If you saw Friday’s 6-4 loss against Colgate then you pretty much saw all the reasons why UMass lost last night’s game as well.  Poor defensive play.  Another bad night on the penalty kill.  And a team losing its composure.  What was maybe even more discouraging however was unlike Friday when the team made a big push in the third to get back in the game, yesterday it was the opposite.  The team entered the final period clinging to a 2 to 1 lead, but ended up giving up four goals total in the 3rd to give the Raiders the 5-2 win and the weekend sweep.  What was sad to see was once Colgate took the lead, the Minutemen appeared to give up and the Raiders added to their lead within minutes.

While it was the same result as Friday, it was a different group of players for the Minutemen who witnessed the loss.  Gone from the lineup were Oleg Yevenko, Stephen Guzzo, and Patrick Kiley.  In their place were Mike Busillo, Zack LaRue, and Peter DeAngelo.  Busillo in for Yevenko seemed to work OK as he ended up even on the night and had a couple blocked shots, something the team had very few of the night before.  But there are still major deficiencies on defense that need to be addressed.  This is especially true on the penalty kill, which gave up five power play goals on eight Colgate opportunities this weekend.  You’re not going to win a lot of games that way.  Obviously the Colgate line of the Spink brothers and Kyle Baun deserve a lot of credit for what they accomplished this weekend.  However if the defense would’ve been able to limit their chances a little better, the Raiders really didn’t have much depth beyond that.

Offensively the team looked much worse than Friday, likely due to the absence of Stephen Guzzo who was not dressed due to coach’s decision.  With him gone coach Micheletto shuffled all the lines instead of just finding someone to fill Guzzo’s role.  Broken up was the line of Tiefewerth/Gracel/Pereira which seemed to gel well last week against Northeastern.  Kevin Czepiel was moved up to the second line.  Overall, the changes seemed to create more confusion than cohesion on offence.

The third period performance is really concerning because it’s been a problem all season.  UMass has given up 20 of the 46 total goals this season after the second period.  This team would be among the best in the conference if they’d been able to hold onto third period leads.  Instead they’re now three games below .500 and playing their worst hockey of the season.  The team will have just a couple days to absorb what transpired this weekend and try to adjust since they travel to #15 Yale on Tuesday.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Branden Gracel
Gracel had a goal and a team high six shots yesterday.

Micheletto questions the call on Joel Hanley that led to the go ahead goal for Colgate in the Republican recap.  I agree, it was a total phantom elbowing call.

The Collegian has their game story.

College Hockey News’ coverage points out the soft goal let up by Kevin Boyle early in the third as the turning point.

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  1. I was at the game. I was unimpressed with the defense. The offense is taking shots but directly at the goalie. The team seems to have no idea what they are doing and who should be where on any play. It is hard to watch I though Boyle made some good saves, he had too he had no defense in front of him.


  2. Just like Friday, only worse. The coach can say what he wants, but he has to motivate these guys to go out there and do their best. If this scenario wasn’t happening so often I’d say it’s not really his fault, but this is way to often now and he obviously is not motivating these kids. Doesn’t he watch tape of these guys after a game? It’s like he has no idea whats going on either. same ole, same ole. The players need to put forth the effort and 6 or 7 are, but sit the other lack luster guys down. I was really concerned when they brought in Micheletto coming from last place Vermont and bringing some of his compadres along with him. They won like three HE games all year. Well we’re seeing to this point what we’ve gotten, and listening to his post games interviews is not comforting. When the kids have talent, which they do because they wouldn’t have beaten UNH and had leads late against BC and BU, home and away. Either this team is not physically conditioning itself the way it should, or they are not concerned with what Micheletto may say or do regarding their play. We’re at the 1/2 way point and this team is finishing under 500.
    Hopefully these kids will start playing like that actually enjoy the game. Their getting hard to watch. It was a pleasure though watching Colgate. They really impressed me and those around me with their play. And their PP was just beautiful to watch.


  3. Taking a break from studying and figured I’d post some thoughts…

    ^ In Micheletto’s defense, the same things are happening this season that have been happening for the past three, if not four or five seasons. Playing down to the competition, late collapses, etc, etc. Micheletto has juggled the lines from time to time (something Toot was hesitant to do). There is also a visible difference in how the team has become more physical under Mick, something I’m very happy to see after being far from it the past year or two. So I’m not so sure it’s coaching. Conditioning? Maybe. But at this point I don’t think you can say coaching is the most urgent problem. What the real problem is, I don’t know. I’ve been trying to figure that out for 4 seasons.

    On a positive note, Boyle looks great this season. Forget Friday night. At least 3 of those goals were not his fault. Probably second best goalie I’ve seen next to Dainton (wasn’t here for Quick). If he continues he will probably surpass Dainton. And I hate to say it, but Colgate was fun to watch. They did the little things right like squaring up before passing, dishing out smart hits. Their power play was great. Same play burned almost every time – the one ending with a pass across the slot that somebody would put home.

    Very disappointing first half considering the schedule is front-loaded with home games. Could be a really tough season to watch. Go UMass!


    • Really? Most people’s complaints (including from me sometimes) was that Toot juggled lines and lineups way too often. Good point about the schedule. Not coming out of fall with a winning record makes for a considerable uphill climb for the balance of the season.


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