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Yale Recap

UMass ended the first half of the season with another frustrating loss tonight.  This defeat came against Yale by the score of 4-2.  Tonight was all about penalties.  Specifically the UMass team taking some, killing some, not killing others, and not scoring on power plays.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a goal just 3:24 in.  What did UMass do for the rest of the period?  Took just six shots but also took three penalties.  Not surprisingly the score stayed 1-0 after 1.  Things looked promising early in the second when two Yale players took two penalties on the same play, giving UMass a full two minutes of five on three.  But, UMass couldn’t capitalize on the two man advantage.  Yet, in probably the key play of the game, 15 seconds after missing out on the 5 on 3 advantage Rocco Carzo goes into the box for elbowing and then Yale scores a power play goal.  2-0 Bulldogs.

Stephen Guzzo would score toward the end of the second period to give UMass a little momentum going into the third period.  That momentum died of self-inflicted wounds shortly thereafter.  Just a half a minute into the final period Conor Sheary received as five minute major and a game misconduct for hitting from behind.  Just a mere 19 seconds after that, Conor Allen doubles up the penalties with a slashing call.  How many bad penalties can one team take in one game?  Of course, UMass is able to battle and kill off the resulting five on three and the full five minutes of Sheary’s penalty, only to give up a goal a minute later to allow Yale to go up 3-1.  Like we’ve seen too often UMass allowed that key goal to get to them mentally and they immediately give up yet another 21 seconds later.  4-1.  UMass would score another late when Micheletto pulled Kevin Boyle with three minutes late (still wondering why he didn’t do that on Friday), but for all intents and purposes the game was already over.  In fact another horribly timed penalty by Adam Phillips at 18:35 made sure the victory for Yale was complete.

Now, I think it should be pointed out that UMass was playing the 15th ranked team on their home ice tonight.  However, I think it’s also safe to say that this team is playing some terrible hockey right now.  The power play struggled again tonight, going one for seven overall and missing out on that key five on three to start the second that could’ve turned around the game.  While penalties did not hurt the Minutemen too much on the scoresheet as they were able to keep Yale to just one power play goal on eight chances, the penalties were so ill-timed that they completely kept UMass from climbing back into the game.

So that’s it.  UMass limps into the winter break with a 5-9-2 record, going 1-4-1 in their last six games.  I’ll have a post in the next couple days on my thoughts on the team at the unofficial mid point.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Stephen Guzzo
Guzzo had a goal and was smart enough to stay out of the penalty box.  In fact he’s only taken four penalties all season and hasn’t been in the box at all in his last six games.

No recaps out yet, if there end up being any at all.  The Gazette and Republican both thought it more important to send people to the Faculty Senate discussion on football tonight rather than the hockey team facing the #15 team in the country.

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Yale Preview; Gillespie Decommits

Massachusetts Minutemen 5-8-2 (4-6-1)  T-5th Hockey East

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#15 Yale Bulldogs 6-3-2 (3-3-1)  T-5th ECAC

Massachusetts will look for a quick rebound from what was a completely wasted weekend with a rare non-Thanksgiving week Tuesday affair against #18 Yale.  The Minutemen are not the only team motivated to show they’re better than their most recent games however.  The Bulldogs surprisingly maintained their #15 ranking despite only gaining one point in this past weekend’s play as they got pounded by RPI 6-1 on Friday and tied Union 2-2 the next night.  Both teams will be looking to go into the winter break on a high note.

Prior to this last weekend’s struggles the Bulldogs were rolling on the season, with the highlight being a couple overtime wins out in the Centennial State against Denver and Colorado College.  They’ve been pretty balanced between offense and defense so far this year.  The Minuteman defense will have to look much better tomorrow if they want to shut down the likes Antoine Laganiere.  The senior forward has eight goals and six assists in just 11 games so far on the season, finding himself fourth in the country in goals per game.  UMass will also have to limit the chances of Kenny Agostino who has added six goals and seven assists on the  year.  The Yale power play has been converting at a rate of 17.5%.

Jeff Malcolm has been the better Bulldog goaltender so far this season, starting eight of 11 games and compiling a 2.45 GAA and .922 save percentage.  He did play both nights this past weekend so it’s unknown if he’d play again tomorrow.  Though he did not play the entire game on Friday as he was pulled after giving up five goals.  Yale may look to fellow senior Nick Maricic who has had a GAA of 3.91 and saved .855 percent of shots against in four games instead.  Yale does have a young defensive squad with only a single senior and junior among their regular defensemen.  Their penalty kill has been respectable, stopping 84% of their opponents extra man chances.

For UMass they’ll have to play much better in every aspect of the game if they want to pull off the upset.  And even that may not guarantee a win against a ranked team playing in their home barn.  I honestly don’t know what to say beyond that.  There’s way to much to address based on this past weekend’s performance to go into specifics.  This team absolutely needs to go into the break with a win.  Long term aspirations for this team get dimmer with each loss.  The third defeat in five days will make for a less than merry holidays for UMass players and fans alike.

Beer The Triangle
I had originally planned to make the trek down 95 to watch the team tomorrow, but sadly I’ll admit that their recent performances has made it tough to climb into the car mid-week to spend half a day on the road with a good chance of disappointment at the end.  However, for those who are making the trip, here are a couple places sure to add cheer to the visit to New Haven.  There are basically two beer bars I recommend around Yale.  Delaney’s Taproom is located on the northwest outskirts of New Haven.  I recommend trying some local City Steam if you haven’t before.  What I would consider the better of the two options is Prime 16, located right downtown and not too far from the Whale.  Get the Allagash Yakuza, you won’t be disappointed, and make sure to wash it down with one of their burgers.

So I recently learned that Kenny Gillespie, who first committed to UMass over two years ago, will not be coming to Amherst as planned next fall.  I don’t have any details to relay, however Chris Heisenberg’s recruiting site does confirm this information.  I wish Kenny luck wherever he ends up.

With Gillespie’s news UMass has now lost a player and a recruit within a week.  Honestly, I’m not too shocked by this as any coaching change will bring about attrition when it comes to the roster.  I’m honestly a little surprised it’s taken this long however.

The Republican has their preview of tomorrow’s game.  Interesting to note how rare this past weekend’s sweep was.  Maine was the last team to come in and take two from the Minutemen back in 2001.  Including that instance, UMass has only dropped two games at home in a single weekend four times since 2000.

Boston College has regained the top spot in this week’s USCHO poll, which has four different teams receiving first place votes.

No Minutemen were honored in this week’s Hockey East release, but you probably already guessed that.

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