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News ▲ UMass Falls To Team USA 4-0; Vatrano, Sheary Shine In Bruins-Penguins Matchup

The Massachusetts hockey team played their final game of 2015 on Friday night in an exhibition game against the US Junior National Team, falling by a score of 4-0.  The game was the conclusion of Team USA’s evaluation camp ahead of their trip to Finland to compete in the World Junior Championships.  I think there are positives and concerns to take away from the exhibition loss and probably highlights the team’s most glaring area of improvement heading into the second half; offense.

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Midseason Review ▲ Looking Ahead To The Second Half

In last night’s midseason review post I took a look at how the season has played out so far for the Minutemen, from their hot streak in October to start the season to the current nine game winless streak heading into winter break.  Now it’s time to look ahead to the games remaining.  The team is not trending well right now, but there’s still a lot of hockey to be played and with the team currently tied for seventh in Hockey East they’re still within striking distance of a number of achievements.

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Midseason Review ▲ After Hot Start To Season Minutemen Limp Into Winter Break

The Massachusetts Minutemen play an exhibition hockey game this Friday against the US Junior National Team, but for all intents and purposes the team is on winter break, having played 18 of its 34 regular season games this season.  So this is a good time to reflect on what has transpired so far in the first half of the season.  Maybe it makes sense to split that half in halves again, because there were two distinct phases of the season and one could almost say the Minutemen were two distinct teams in those two time periods.  In the early part of the season UMass surprised everyone, jumping out to a 6-2-1 record and finding itself just on the outside of the USCHO rankings.  But the Minutemen have not won since grabbing that sixth win on November 7th, going winless in their last nine games and losing their last five straight before break.  The sum of the two performances leaves UMass holding an overall record of 6-8-4 with their 2-4-4 league record leaving them in a three-way tie for 7th place with New Hampshire and Vermont.

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Recap ▲ UMass Falls To Merrimack At Home, Salvages A Point With Late Heroics At UVM

The Massachusetts hockey team faced two very good defensive teams in Merrimack and Vermont this past weekend and struggled to get their talented offense going early on in both games.  The Minutemen did rally from multiple goal deficits in both of the contests.  But while their comeback was for naught at home on Friday against the Warriors, a heart-stopping third period in Vermont allowed UMass to at least gain a tie and a valuable road point on the weekend.

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Game Preview ▲ What To Watch For Versus Dalhousie

Normally FTT game previews are an in-depth look at the opponent, their strengths and weaknesses, and what the Massachusetts hockey will need to do to gain a win.  For Saturday’s exhibition game against Dalhousie however I’m much more concerned with the Minutemen.  I don’t really care if they get the win or not, as long as they play well.  So let’s take a brief look at the Dalhousie Tigers, but focus more on a few things UMass fans should keep an eye out for with the Minutemen taking the ice for the first time this season.

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Countdown ▲ 7 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

We are just a week away from the Massachusetts hockey team kicking off its season with the exhibition game against Dalhousie of the CIS.  Since I didn’t have a chance to post yesterday, we have a couple Minutemen to spotlight today.

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Recruit Update ▲ Makar Continues Hot Start With Brooks

Time for a weekly look at how the future Minutemen are doing early on in this hockey season.

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View From Section U ▲ UMass Freshmen By The Numbers

The Massachusetts hockey team has a very large, hopefully talented freshman class this year that could be the key to turning around the team’s fortunes on the ice.  Regular FTT readers have become acquainted with them through the regular Recruit Update posts and the recent player features as we count down to the Dalhousie game.  But each year I like to run down each freshman and compare their numbers against other recent Minutemen who have come out of the same junior leagues to see how they stack up.

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View From Section U ▲ FTT 2015-16 Hockey East Preseason Poll

Usually I reveal my preseason Hockey East poll much closer to the beginning of the season when the previews are really ramping up.  However, since the polls are due to the Hockey East Broadcasters & Writers Association in the next few days I sat down and thought it through a littler earlier than usual.  So here we go.

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Countdown: 37 Days ‘Til Dalhousie

The countdown is on.  I know most sites would count down to the first regular season matchup, but that would create a lot of work in those last few days before the first game when I’ll be trying to focus posts on other topics.  Plus, it’s really the exhibition that will give fans the first real glimpse of the team to understand the full capabilities of this squad.  So when we countdown we ain’t talking about a game, not talking about a game, we’re talking about 37 days until practice. Practice.  Not talking ‘bout a game, talkin’ ‘bout practice.

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