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Recap: UMass’ Offense Sputters As They Drop 3-1 Decision To #14 Quinnipiac

Whereas on Saturday the team played well in nearly all aspects of the their game on their way to a 3-2 win, that was definitely not the case last night.  While they got enough from their defense and goaltending to have a chance for victory, poor special teams and a complete inability to generate any offense against Quinnipiac resulted in a 3-1 loss that was not really as close as the score indicates.  The result drops to UMass to 4-9-0 on the season.  Probably more concerning is the Minutemen are now just 1-4-0 at home, with the lone win coming over AIC.

The story of this one is that UMass simply did not get enough shots on net.  They compiled just 18 shots on goal on the night, with a high of just 7 in the second period.  Even when adding back in the 8 blocked shots by Quinnipiac, the attacking, creative offense we saw the night before in Hamden just wasn’t there.  The lack of shots was despite 7 power play chances on the night.  They did convert on one of those opportunities, but even that was a bit of a flukey goal when the puck bounced strangely off the back boards to Frank Vatrano who was rushing in to put it in the back of the net.  Overall, Quinnipiac’s defense, one of the best in the country, completely stifled any and every UMass scoring chance.

Special teams was the other area that hurt the Minutemen greatly last night.  Already mentioned was the converting on just one of 7 power play chances.  The Bobcats got the go ahead and eventual game winning goal on a short-handed goal early in the third.  After keeping Quinnipiac’s power play off the board entirely the night before the Bobcats went 2 for 6 with the extra man on the night, accounting for their two other goals.

Defensively, outside of the penalty kill, the Minutemen looked OK.  Henry Dill put in another solid performance, making 27 saves a night after making 37 in the first game of the home and home.  He had a couple highlight saves, the most memorable for me being a stop where he quickly flashed his blocker to rob a Bobcat forward who had nearly the whole net open to him.  The defensemen and forwards in front of Dill did another solid job, blocking a season high 25 shots on the night.  The 30 shots registered plus the 25 additional that were blocked shows the dominance in terms of puck possession in favor of the Bobcats.

Overall, a split with a ranked team is a positive at this point in the season.  It’s too bad that they couldn’t put in a better performance at home yesterday to try to build off Friday’s big win.  With their poor record at the Mullins Center so far this season it makes you wonder if the big ice is actually working against the skill and strategy of the team.  It probably also doesn’t help that crowds are dwindling and there’s very little energy to spur the players when they play in Amherst.  Crowds will obviously be less when the students are home for break, but the 1900 fans at the games yesterday is less than the 2200 that this Saturday after Thanksgiving game has typically drawn in recent years.  And frankly, I thought that 1900 figure was pretty generous.  Since the athletic department seems reluctant to market or discount single game tickets, something that was very evident when many other Hockey East teams had Black Friday ticket promotions, it’ll fall on the players to create their own energy at home if the crowds stay away.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Henry Dill
Dill did what he could to keep the Minutemen in this game, at least until the miscue in front of him led to the shorthanded goal that ended up being the difference.

Recap and Box Score from UMass Athletics.

Game recap from the Collegian.

Conor Sheary is mentioned in this piece on Penguins prospects.

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7 Comments

  1. Mel

     /  November 30, 2014

    Just checking in to see if you are going to stick with that 13-win prediction. 🙂

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    • If we see the team thay played Friday more? Yes.

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    • Since you seem very interested in my 13 win prediction, here’s where I saw the wins coming from: Michigan State, Northeastern, AIC, UVM, QU, NOrtheastern, Air Force, UConn, Maine, UNH, Merrimack, Northeastern, UConn

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  2. Mel

     /  November 30, 2014

    Forgot to add, if the big ice surface is working against the strength and strategy of the team, then why has the head coach pursued said strategy? That’s a head scratcher.

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    • I think the big ice can hurt us defensively because of our challenges on D. I’m not sure why we’ve struggled to score goals at home, outside of AIC, however.

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  3. Wanna pump the attendance? Why doesn’t McClutch send bales of tix to all the HS programs in the state for games during intersession and holiday breaks. Hell, all it costs is the ticket printing and if we sell a few hot dogs along the way, it’s all profit. Does it sound like I’m sayin’ management don’t like puck sports???

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    • RDW

       /  December 5, 2014

      Bad idea…UMASS would be in immediate NCAA trouble. No tickets can be given to those in 8th grade and above. Winning pumps up attendance.

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