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Recap ▲ UMass’ Woes Continue With Sweep By Northeastern

Any hope that ending their nine game losing streak against with Tuesday’s win over AIC would give UMass some momentum for the final weeks of the season quickly evaporated as the Northeastern Huskies dominated the Minutemen in a weekend sweep.  On Friday night UMass looked disjointed and disinterested at home as the Huskies cruised to an easy 5-0 win.  On Saturday night UMass played better but was unable to overcome adversity and perhaps some poor officiating, falling 4-2 at Matthews Arena.

Friday’s game in front of one of the smallest Mullins Center crowds in well over a decade (don’t believe what’s listed on the box score) got off to an extremely slow start, something that seems to be a regular occurrence.  For whatever reason coach John Micheletto seems unable to get his team mentally prepared for the start of games and on Friday UMass would not register their first shot on Husky goaltender Ryan Ruck until over 15 minutes into the game.  Fifteen full minutes without a single shot on goal.  Northeastern however had focus and energy to start and the game easily could’ve been 2-0 in the Huskies’ favor if not for some key saves by UMass goaltender Nic Renyard.  The teams would end up heading to the second period scoreless.

Just twenty four seconds into the second period however Northeastern would break the 0-0 tie as Zach Aston-Reese would find the net.  A little over five minutes later Husky star Kevin Roy, who missed much of the season with injury, would go five hole on Renyard to score his first goal of the season.  UMass was never really in the game after that point.  Northeastern would score one more goal in the second and two more in the third as UMass looked completely out of its league in front of the American and Canadian TV audiences.

UMass managed just 17 shots on goal in the game and never accumulated more than 6 in a single period.  The Minutemen would go 0 for 2 in the power play and generate just two shots on goal in 2:28 with the extra man.  The team played with little, if any, sense of urgency.  Again, if the team is worried that their coach is going to be let go at the end of the season they have a strange way of showing it.  They look, frankly, uninterested in the hockey season and, like the few fans who continue to show up to home games, are just waiting for the season to end.

The beginning of Saturday night’s game in Boston seemed to take up where Friday’s ended.  It would be 2-0 Northeastern less than 12 minutes into the game.  The Minutemen would manage just four shots on goal while the Huskies built their two goal lead.  Perhaps the prospect of getting blown out again woke the team up though and they started to turn things on at that point.  Anthony Petrella would score his 2nd goal of the season just over 15 minutes into the game.  And then toward the beginning of the second Maddison Smiley would score his first of the season to tie the game at two apiece.  That’s when things would start to get ugly.

At 13:12 UMass would be called for two separate penalties, a cross-check by Ben Gallacher and interference by Callum Fryer, to give Northeastern a 5 on 3 chance which they ultimately scored on to take the 3-2 lead.  Just a couple minutes later the Huskies got another power play chance when Carmine Buono was called for boarding.  I did not attend Saturday’s game so I can’t comment on the legitimacy of the calls.  However to that point UMass had been called for six penalties to Northeastern’s two, a disparity which seemed to serve as a point of frustration for the players and staff.

As time expired in the second Austin Plevy was hit hard along the boards by Husky Sam Kurker, who was assessed two minutes for charging.  Micheletto thinking the hit may have been worthy of a major penalty, sought an explanation from referees Cameron Voss and Jack Millea as the teams headed to the locker rooms.  Officials discussing their calls with coaches, especially in pivotal moments of games, is a regular occurrence in Hockey East.  Yet for unknown reasons neither Voss nor Millea would skate over to Micheletto to and he was left yelling across the ice to try to get their attention.  Ultimately he yelled too much and got slapped with a game misconduct and was ejected from the game.

Again, I was not there so other than the rough account above I don’t know many of the details.  It seems logical that Micheletto was frustrated by the officiating at that point, the 5 to 1 power play disparity in favor of the Huskies, not to mention the team’s recent woes.  Maybe he overreacted to not getting an explanation of the Kurker call, but there’s no excuse for the officials’ behavior either.  All that was needed for Voss, who I believe made the call on Kurker, to explain his reasoning for a minor instead of a major penalty.  Instead he showed why he’s believe by many, myself included, to be one of the worst officials in the league.  Not only does he have a habit of making poor calls, but he doesn’t even have the courage or the courtesy to explain them?  There should be some accountability on his end for what transpired at the end of the second period but I’m not holding my breath that the league will do anything.

The game by that point was quite chippy and in the third period with Micheletto in the locker room instead of on the bench the march to the penalty box continued.  There’d be seven more penalties called in the final frame, four on Northeastern and three on UMass.  The Minutemen would not be able to do anything with the two and a half minutes of power play time they were awarded in the third however, managing just one shot with the extra man.  Northeastern would not make the same mistake and sealed their weekend sweep with an extra man goal in the final minutes.

With another sweep at the hands of a Hockey East opponent it means that UMass will need to take at least three points from 3rd place Providence in the final weekend of the season just for the chance to finish higher than last.  But first they’ll head to Lowell for one game next weekend.  The non-conference game against the River Hawks could’ve been for possession of the Alumni Cup.  But Lowell settled that last month with a weekend sweep of the Minutemen.  So next week’s game sets up as a mostly meaningless affair, an interruption before the final games of the regular season and seemingly inevitable disappointing end to UMass’ season.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game (Friday) – Shane Walsh
It’s really tough to find a player of the game for a 5-0 shutout loss with little UMass playing so poorly.  I’ll go with Walsh as he had a couple shots on net and more importantly wasn’t on the ice for any of the goals against.

Fear The Triangle Player of the Game (Saturday) – Anthony Petrella
UMass desperately needed a spark after surrendering 7 straight goals to the Huskies on the weekend and Petrella provided it to get the Minutemen back in the game.  It’s not a surprise that the goal was set up by Ray Pigozzi would continues to play very well as of late.

Friday’s recap and box score from UMass Athletics.

Here is Friday’s game story from the Collegian.  There’s also this piece I recommend reading on Friday being just another defeat at the Mullins Center.  One shocking stat in that story is that Northeastern, a team that hasn’t been among the best in Hockey East, is 9-1-1 in their last 11 games at the Mullins Center.  That’s simply unacceptable.

Saturday’s recap and box score from UMass Athletics.

SBN College Hockey has their game story, as does the Collegian, and one from USCHO as well.

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5 Comments

  1. Enough

     /  February 14, 2016

    125 goals against (2nd most), 0.884 save % (2nd worst).
    You can highlight any stat, they all scream for a coaching change.
    #deadmanwalking

    Like

  2. umassattack

     /  February 15, 2016

    I’ve seen some tough seasons over the years, but this season I find the most disappointing of the last 15-17 years. It looks like (last place, last place, second to last, and last place). But the thing about this season is that ….it has just been so lack luster. No excitement on the ice, on the bench, or in the stands. It’s probably the lousiest hockey atmosphere I’ve witnessed in all these past years to now. We’ll probably end with 8 wins, good thing we played (3) teams from Atlantic Hockey. That was 3 of the 8 wins, and 2 of those wins could have gone either way. The fans that traveled varying distances, put up with weather conditions, and paid decent money to watch this team did not get their moneys worth. Their were certainly individuals on the team that gave there all, but just not all the time, and collectively as a team there were games where fans walked out because of the dismal effort that was viewed from the seats.
    This is a hockey program that is in crisis! It’s in a free fall and has been for the last 4-5 seasons. There’s been no vertical movement, just languishing at the bottom of the barrel. This university needs to wake up. Their main sports: Foot Ball, Basketball, and Hockey are all headed no where.

    Like

  3. Anonymous

     /  February 16, 2016

    ad needs to fire coach today…let the fans know he means business….the state u in the new England hockey hotbed of recruiting will have better days ahead with this current coach gone…what about greg mauldin? greg was a baller….lots of UMASS pride

    Like

  4. Anonymous

     /  February 16, 2016

    Big name, coaching experience from New England preferably Massachusetts. Do we need to try another up and coming assistant? Been there, done that.

    Like

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