Recap: UMass Drops 8-3 Decision To Northeastern To Close Out Disastrous First Half

I’m not going to get into too much detail in breaking down last night’s 8-3 defeat at the hands of Northeastern.  If you saw the 8-1 loss to BU on opening night, or 11-1 shellacking by Vermont, or Notre Dame’s 7-5 victory a couple weekends ago then you saw last night as well.  The only major difference was the string of goals that the Minutemen gave up putting the game out of reach happened right from the first faceoff rather than the accustomed time later in the game.

Indeed three goals in the first 10 minutes put the Huskies in the driver’s seat in this game and they never looked back.  Those three goals came on just four shots and that ended the night early for freshman goaltender Henry Dill who had previously had 42 saves against this Northeastern team in October.  As has been the case all season, it’s tough to really put any blame on Dill for the goals allowed, or on Steve Mastalerz who gave up five goals in relief, because the defense in front of them played so poorly.  The number of quality chances given up by this team is staggering.  All in all 1/3rd of all of Northeastern’s shots on the night went into the net.  33%.

Here are some other numbers that will cause your mouth to gape in disbelief.  Coming into the game Northeastern had scored 10 power play goals in 63 chances on the season, converting with the extra man at a rate of 15.9%.  Last night they scored five power play goals on nine chances.  1/3rd of their power play goals on the season were accumulated just last night alone.  What’s really amazing is those five goals came on just six shots on the power play.  UMass wore out a path to the penalty box, taking nine total, one third of those coming from Mike Busillo.

The result spoiled the debut of Brandon Montour, who is now eligible after sitting out the first semester due to clearinghouse issues.  I would say Montour looked OK last night.  Obviously it would’ve been a lot to ask for him to be a difference maker after a whole two practices with his new team.  But overall he had his ups and downs.  He seems to have a very quick release to his shot.  He made a nice backcheck play at one point disrupting a Northeastern odd man rush.  He did play a major role in what was probably the deciding moment of the game, but not in a good way.  I admittedly didn’t see it, but Montour was whistled for unsportsmanlike for shooting the puck after the whistle sounded to end the first period (more on that later).  The penalty nullified a UMass power play that was going to carry over into the second period and at the tail end of the penalty Kevin Roy scored to give the Huskies a 4-0 lead.  It was all over at that point, just 22 minutes into the game.

This was a fitting end to the first half of the season.  All the problems we’ve seen so far on the year such as the porous defense, sub par goaltending, poor special teams, too many trips to the box, bench penalties, all took place in this one game.  I’ll have a mid-season review of the season in the next day or so, but if you want to know how the season has been so far, last night was a pretty good example.  Horrendous defense and disinterested players.  That’s been UMass’ season so far.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Frank Vatrano
Vatrano continues to be the lone bright spot lately, scoring two goals last night.  He’s now third in Hockey East for goals scored with 9.

Recap and Box Score from UMass Athletics.

Earlier in the season I wrote that it was disappointing to see so little coverage of the team.  I guess you have to be careful what you wish for because there was a full media contingent at last night’s latest UMass hockey debacle.

John Connolly covered the game for the Boston Herald.

Dan Malone of Masslive had a game recap and another piece focusing in on Montour.  He also has this story titled “Micheletto Ready To Move Past Disappointing First Half Of Season.”  Although very few specifics on what changes he plans to make to get UMass winning again.

Matt Vautour has his recap for the Gazette.

The Collegian has their game recap as well as a piece on Montour’s debut.

And finally USCHO has their game story.

Aside from another blowout loss, the other big news today was that UMass picked up a commitment from defenseman Ivan Chukarov from the Minnesota Wilderness of the NAHL.  The 6’3”, 200lb Illinois native has six goals and 12 assists in 23 games and was recently named a NAHL Star of the Week.  He appears to be another offensively minded defenseman, much like we’ve seen recently, though one with some pretty good size.  Combined with the recent commitment of goaltender Nic Renyard, the coaching staff has now addressed a couple of the major needs for next year’s class.  I’ll have more on Chukarov in an upcoming recruit update post.

Joe Bertagna was interviewed last night in between periods by the UMass radio crew.  I guess the headline from the interview is that a UMass-UConn game at Fenway is likely in the works for next season.  However my favorite part is when Brock Hines points out during the interview that the officials are at that very moment using replay to call the unsportsmanlike penalty on Montour, something not allowed under current rules.  Don’t worry, Bertagna says he’ll get to the bottom of it.  Yeah, sure he will.  Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me.  Hockey East continues to have awful officiating and, though they didn’t factor into last night’s outcome, the crew last night was particularly awful.  But what do you expect when you hire officials like Curtis Marouelli, one of last night’s referees, who is already widely known for his blown calls in the ECHL.

The Minutemen and some of their historically bad statistics on the season were a major part of Puck Daddy’s weekly NCAA hockey update.

Again, Mid-Season Review coming up soon on FTT so keep checking back.  The players are back home but I’m not going on break.



  1. Mel

     /  December 17, 2014

    The good news is that the players will be out of contact with the coach until after Christmas. Might be the best thing to happen this year. We are having an historically bad season to date and Mick isn’t the only guy looking to put the first half behind him.


  2. Bobby

     /  December 18, 2014

    Well the 1080 fans who watched last night’s game vs Northeastern were treated to a familiar scenario of earlier games. The minuteman after the first 20 minutes had them-selves in a 3-0 hole. There was about a 5-7 minute portion of the 2nd period where the Minutemen seemed to be giving it the old college try, but their undisciplined and nonchalant play took them out of the moment.
    The defense and the goal tending just are not there. The Minutemen out shot the Huskies 34-24 but gave up (8) goals. The first period saw the Huskies with only (4) shots, however, they scored 3 times on those four shots. Through-out the game Northeastern was winning the majority of the one on one battles, and over-all most times the minutemen appeared to be going through the motions.
    So for the remainder of the 2015 season the Minutemen will play (17) games, (9) of them at home where they have a 1-7 record, and (8) away where they have a 3-5 record, with two of the eight away games at a neutral site (Vermont). Nine of these game are with top 20 teams, and (15) of the (17) games are with teams all higher in the pairwise rankings. Only Maine and Air Force are ranked lower, and Maine has already beaten UMASS twice. With the way the Minutemen have played so far…… the second half of the season looks like disaster.
    All the teams they will face will be H.E. teams except for one, Air Force. The minutemen have given up more goals (53) in H.E. than any other team, and the Minuteman are ranked nationally as “dead last” in team defense. Most of the other H.E. teams they will play have been extremely stingy when giving up goals. Just for example: BU-19, UML-16, Prov-13, Merrck-18, CT-20, NH-22, ME-28, NE-34, compared to UMASS’s 53 given up. I’m going to be generous, and hope I’m wrong, but I predict a second half out-come of 4-13, ending the season at 8-25. This unfortunately would indicate no positive movement for the Minutemen in the past (3) seasons. That’s not to take away from the very good play of a handful of players.


  3. George

     /  December 18, 2014

    It’s all said in your wrap up. Nice job as always FTT. I got a kick out of you mentioning Marouelli. I saw the name at the game and wondered if it was a relation to Dan, who my friend & I remembered growing up (yes I was one of the ALLEGED 1000 at the game). The refs are not the reason we’re awful, but we thought it was odd they went to the box to review a penalty call. And you mention Brock. I was listening to the game against Boston College last season and he was reading right out of the NCAA rule book that the UMass Troy Power offsides isn’t reviewable. Why does our color guy know more than these officials? I wish Brock and Adam in that interview would have asked about the this new (second year is it?) director of officials. Because I’m not seeing any familiar faces in our games as refs, it’s like we’re getting the D3 leftovers.
    I look forward to your mid term analysis. Even though you’re not going to be able to solve any UMass hockey problems, maybe at least we can get you thoughts on our new AD. Hopefully.


  4. umassattack

     /  December 18, 2014

    Just read the “PUCK DADDY” article on UMASS and Brandon Montour. Talk about a scathing story leaving little hope for the Minutemen, especially if Brandon Montour leaves as they seem that he will.


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