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Recap ▲ Maine Sweeps UMass Into The Hockey East Basement

Even when the Massachusetts season started its downward turn and more recently when the team dropped games to Boston University and Boston College by the scores of 7-2 and 8-0, I still felt confident that the team would at least be able to get one conference win when Maine visited this weekend.  After all, Maine is one of the worst teams in the country.  In addition having one of the most ineffective offenses in college hockey this Black bear team had won exactly zero games away from Alfond Arena.  So it seemed logical that at worst UMass would manage a split.  But for the second night in a row Maine dominated in terms of possession and grabbed the narrow 5-4 win.  The sweep at the hands of the Black Bears means the Minutemen are now in sole possession of last place in Hockey East.

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Recap ▲ UMass Falls 5-2, Hands Maine Their First Road Win Of Season

This weekend’s series against last place Maine appeared to be an ideal opportunity for the Minutemen to gain valuable Hockey East points, grab their first Hockey East win since early November, and create some momentum heading into the final stretch of the season.  They may still achieve some of those goals with a win tonight.  But UMass kicked off the weekend with an incredibly disappointing 5-2 loss to the Black Bears that made official the fact that the season has become nothing short of a train-wreck.

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Preview ▲ Four Hockey East Points On The Line As Maine Visits UMass

Maine Black Bears 5-15-6 (2-8-2) Hockey East 12th

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Massachusetts Minutemen 7-14-4 (2-9-4) Hockey East T-10th

The Massachusetts hockey team last gained a league point on 11/21 with a tie against Merrimack.  They have lost their last seven Hockey East games since and have been unable to make any headway in the conference standings.  The last place Maine Black Bears coming to the Mullins Center for two games represents UMass’ best chance to get a win since facing Army to begin the calendar year.  There are a lot of factors that favor the Minutemen in this matchup, but Maine should not be overlooked.  We’ve learned the hard way in recent years that nothing should be taken for granted with this UMass team.

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Recruit Update ▲ Hildenbrand Commits To UMass

The Massachusetts hockey team picked up a commitment from forward Niko Hildenbrand.  The right shot, 1995 birth year plays forward for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL.  The Vacaville, CA native is 5’11” and weighs 194 lbs.

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Weekend Wrap-around ▲ UMass Drops To 10th Place In Hockey East

Another weekend without gaining any points has put the Massachusetts hockey team in a precarious position with just a few weeks left in the season.  It also sets up an interesting matchup this weekend as the Maine Black Bears come to town currently inhabiting last place, but are just two points behind the Minutemen.

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Recap ▲ Vermont Comes Back To Defeat UMass 6-4

A night after perhaps their worst performance of the season the Massachusetts hockey team looked much better as they hosted the Vermont Catamounts.  UMass would play well enough to take a 4-2 lead into the final period.  However they ran out of gas late, gave up four third period goals, and ended up falling to UVM 6-4.  There were a number of positives to take away from the game, such as the offensive reemergence of Dennis Kravchenko and Austin Plevy as well as Nic Renyard’s performance in net.  However the team still cannot find a way to win and are now 1-12-0 in their last 13 games.  In addition John Micheletto is now winless in his last 8 games against his former team.

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Recap ▲ UMass Gift-Wraps 1,000th Win For Jerry York, Falls 8-0

Last night’s game between #4 Boston College and the Massachusetts Minutemen seemed to be a referendum on how the respective teams feel about their coaches.  From the start the BC Eagles played like they were going to stop at nothing to make sure Jerry York would gain his 1,000th career win, the first to ever reach such a milestone.  On the other side, if the UMass players are worried that the Minutemen’s continued poor results is going to cost John Micheletto his job, they didn’t play like it.  Or maybe, like nearly all the remaining UMass hockey fans, they too are ready for a change.  UMass played before its biggest crowd of the season last night, but few of the 4,673 fans were there at the end to witness history as the embarrassing 8-0 loss sent them to their cars, or nearby bars, early.

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Preview ▲ UMass Begins Homestand With Games Against #4 Boston College, Vermont

Boston College Eagles 15-4-3 (8-1-3) Hockey East 2nd

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Massachusetts Minutemen 7-12-4 (2-7-4) Hockey East T-8th

If the Massachusetts hockey team is going to make a run in the second half of the season it has to start now.  The Minutemen will not have to play a game outside of Western Mass until February 13th against Northeastern.  Friday’s game against 4th ranked Boston College kicks off a five game homestand, followed by a game against AIC at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, and then capped off with a return to the Mullins Center to face Northeastern.  We heard a lot earlier on in the season that the team was in need of a good homestretch to reverse their fortunes.  That hasn’t really happened as the team is just 2-5-1 at the Mullins Center.  But considering that the team plays three of its final four regular season games on the road, they desperately need to do well now if they’re to stay out of the bottom portion of the league standings.

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Weekend Wrap-around ▲ Northeastern Surging

We had  nothing but conference play for the Hockey East teams this past weekend.  Yes, the stretch run has come to the league.  Of the six weekend series, four ended up being sweeps.  The weekend helped cement the gap between the four or five teams with a chance at the league title and everyone else.

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View From Section U ▲ Time For A Coaching Change

Let me start by saying that I think John Micheletto is a sharp, innovative hockey mind in the college game as well as a talented recruiter.  I have no doubt that he has spent the last three and a half years working hard to make UMass hockey successful in the competitive Hockey East.  I think he’s a well-intentioned individual who is trying his best.  I also believe that despite all those qualities he is not the right person to be head coach and after this current season, Athletic Director Ryan Bamford should look to someone new to lead the Massachusetts hockey program.

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