UMass’ Season Ends With 7-0 Playoff Loss To Notre Dame

The Massachusetts and Notre Dame hockey teams played 14 periods of hockey this past weekend and Massachusetts was as good or better than the Irish in 9 of those periods.  But Notre Dame’s dominance in the final four periods played during the weekend ended up deciding the series.  After being the better team in final period of Saturday’s Game 2 to break a tie and even the series Notre Dame embarrassed the Minutemen by scoring seven in last night’s deciding game.  UMass’ season ended much as it began way back in October, with a seven goal loss.

In the final period on Saturday the Irish were the better team, outshooting UMass 12-5 and outscoring them 3-1.  At the same time UMass took way too many trips to the penalty box, preventing any chance of a comeback as thae Irish eventually won 5-3.  Sunday night all of those factors that hurt the Minutemen late on Saturday carried over right to the start of the game.  Things could not have started any worse when Steve Mastalerz had what should’ve been a routine save tip off his glove and get past him for an Irish goal just 48 seconds into the game.  Mastalerz would settle down and come up with some pretty good saves after that, but unfortunately the team struggled to get that goal back.  UMass did not get their first shot on net until sometime around the halfway mark of the first period and had just three total in the opening frame.  Taking three penalties that period did not help their cause.

Just under seven minutes into the second period Mastalerz would again be called upon to make a fairly routine glove save.  This came just two nights after he flashed the glove over and over while making 72 saves in the five overtime win.  But for whatever reason the glove hand failed him last night and again what should’ve been a fairly easy stop got by him, giving the Irish a 2-0 lead.  Again he settled down after that goal, which was good because the Irish were dominating possession during a period that would see them put 18 shots on net.  But Mastalerz’s night and UMass career would end halfway through the period when an Irish player would get pushed down and barrel into Mastalerz, hurting the goaltender’s leg and knocking him out of the game.  With Henry Dill coming in to relieve the senior the hope was the team would rally to their injured senior starter’s cause.  But that hope disappeared quickly.  Twenty one seconds after Dill entered the game Notre Dame’s first shot against him would find the back of the net.  3-0.  A faceoff and 14 seconds later another Irish shot found its way past Dill.  4-0 and for all intents and purposes game over.  Two goals late in the same period made it 6-0.  A goal in the third gave Notre Dame the extra point, 7-0.

The last two games of the series were extremely disappointing.  It’s unfortunate that Friday’s historic win will end up being an odd footnote in a first round series loss by the last place team in Hockey East.  Most teams would’ve rode the momentum from that win to complete the upset of the Irish.  Instead on Saturday the team fell into the familiar problem of not being able to figure out how to win late and shooting themselves in the foot with penalties.  On Sunday the team got blown out by an embarrassing margin and played listlessly.  The game marked the 7th time this season where UMass gave up 7 or more goals.  I don’t know why or how the team that did everything right for 8 periods on Friday could only manage two good periods on Saturday and Sunday combined.  Maybe the epic effort on Friday took too much out of them and they couldn’t recover.  Maybe the on-ice leadership of Troy Power was something they were missing after the senior captain missed the final two games with an undisclosed injury.

Whatever the reason for the lackluster play to close out the series, the Minutemen missed out on a huge opportunity.  Just moving on to the quaterfinals, even if they lost there, would’ve been a major accomplishment for this team.  It would’ve solidified the improved play seen in the second half of the season.  It would’ve given the seniors an ability to finish their careers with a positive, something they haven’t had much of in their years here.  It would’ve given the younger players some confidence and experience heading into the offseason and next fall.  Instead, UMass did exactly what most others around the league expected of them.  They fell flat on their face and at the end and looked like the historically bad team they were for most of the season.  How is a team not mentally ready to play an elimination game like that?  How is the coaching staff unable to get the team motivated and prepared to play the most important games of the season over and over and over?  I guess we’ll have all offseason to try to answer those two questions.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Dennis Kravchenko
It’s tough to find a POTG for a 7-0 loss but Kravchenko did fairly well with his two shots on goal, one blocked shot, and 9 for 11 effort in the faceoff circle.  And even better, he was only on the ice for one of the goals.

Recap and Box Score from UMass Athletics.

Game Story from the Collegian.

USCHO has an interesting look at Friday’s 5 OT game from the perspective of the officials and the radio crews, including UMass’ Brock Hines and Cody Chrusciel.

The season is over but there will still be a lot of coverage here on FTT for at least the rest of the week.  Tomorrow I plan on posting my annual FTT Season Awards.  And then on Wednesday and Thursday I’ll be posting a two part Season Review.  Included in the season review will be a subject I’ve purposefully avoided writing about in detail during the season; my thoughts on the coaching situation currently at UMass.  Probably tomorrow night I’ll also try to squeeze in a recruit update as there’s a lot of activity there with the players currently in state or junior playoffs.



  1. Flag Guy

     /  March 9, 2015

    Eric Dill or Henry Dill -? too much shoveling over there today?


  2. Gary

     /  March 9, 2015

    typical umass.


  3. As a Minuteman fan, how does one look at this season and see encouragement for the 2015-2016 season? I think we all see a handful of very capable scorers, yet how many times did they NOT come through when they had the chances to ? Except for Montour, I hope the Minutemen have some good defensive prospects coming in or UM is in big trouble. And I think it’s only fair to say that the goal tending position is WIDE open. UM goaltenders gave us some moments of greatness, but NO consistency, and these moments were followed by complete goal tending let downs.
    I know some of the goal tending problems also have to be put on the often lousy defense that was in front of them. But any way you cut it there’s no way around the facts. This team gave up more goals (102) in H.E., by far more than any other team in this league. And then compared to ALL the 59 teams in Div. I hockey, only one team gave up more on the entire season than UM, and that was their Atlantic Hockey neighbor 30 miles to the south of them who gave up 155 goals on the season. UM gave up 152 on the season which was good for runner up to AIC’s 155. UM takes 58th place in giving away goals out of the 59 spots.
    I had hoped for a minor “Miracle On Ice” for UM when they went out to ND. After that historic game#1 I thought for sure we’d see them win at least one more game there, and maybe just ride the momentum. But in less than 24 hrs. time, after topping the NCAA record books for their historic longest game ever they could not bare down and get the job done. How does a team NOT go all out, and be up for those next two games after pulling off the HUGE win the night before ?
    I don’t get it ?
    I know that it’s hurting at the box office to. This was the worst season for hockey attendance in this last decade……. An avg. of 2581 per game…… In this decade they had a high attendance of 6603 per game in 2011-2012 and five other season near 5000 per game, and a couple of other season at 4000 per game. Whether it be coincidence or not the 6603 per game avg. was TOOT Cahoon’s last year here. The next three seasons in a row under the present coaching staff has seen the attendance dwindle as follows: 2012-2013 – 4209 fans per game, 2013-2014 – 3891 fans per game, 2014-2015 – 2581 fans per game.
    Definitely not moving in the right direction.
    I do look forward to 2015-2016. I hope the extra year makes our scorers more prolific especially when needed. However, if the DEFENSE and GOAL TENDING problems don’t get solved it will be another 11th or 12 th place season.


    • Some very good points. You’ll see similar thoughts in my season recap.


    • ganderson9754

       /  March 11, 2015

      I believe many of the fans in attendance were disguised as empty seats. Not optimistic for next year, either.


  4. My big question is why does a 12th and last place team even get a playoff berth? The Hockey East playoff setup is not respectable as it is. No way that a sub-par team like this year’s Minutemen should be in any kind of post-season tournament. HE needs to keep finishers 11 & 12 out of the playoffs to give the regular season some validity.
    I just hope things will get better for this program with a new AD who will give hockey some resources and attention it has lacked for a long time.


    • I think full postseason participation is the trend. I don’t think you’ll see it change. Plus, here you almost had the last place team move on to the quarterfinals, which would’ve been pretty dramatic. Meanwhile the 11th seed Warriors are moving on. At the end of the day the league is looking for entertainment value and I think they got it with those two series.


    • Actually Hockey East was the last of the SIX D-I conferences to not have every team make the playoffs. So now every single team in D-I actually does make the playoffs and gets a second chance. Already in Atlantic Hockey, Niagara who finished last and only won like 5 games all season just knocked off Holy Cross at Holy Cross to move on to the next round of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs. In these short series you never know. An injury, an off night, a hot goal tender can change it all. Our own UM certainly had that opportunity against ND to move onto the next round, but we all know what happened there.


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