Scrolling Headlines:

: Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

UNH’s Bobby Butler continues success against UMass

New Hampshire’s Bobby Butler once again victimized the Massachusetts hockey team as the Wildcats split a relatively penalty-free weekend of play with the Minutemen.

Butler came into the weekend as a notorious UMass-killer for his career. In the final tilt of a home-and-home series last season, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lift then-No. 13 UNH over the Minutemen. Back in 2007, Butler poured in a goal in double overtime in the first semifinal game of the Hockey East Tournament to eliminate UMass.

“Great players like that, especially in this league, you just have to slow them down,” UMass’ Will Ortiz said of Butler after Saturday’s game.

The No. 14 Minutemen (8-2-0, 3-2-0 Hockey East), however, were not able to contain Butler over the weekend as he continued to add to his impressive resumè against UMass.

In a heartbreaking 4-3 loss in overtime for UNH on Friday, the senior scored his seventh goal of the season on a loose puck to give the Wildcats (3-6-2, 3-2-1 HEA) their first lead of the game.

On Saturday, Butler had another strong showing as he led UNH to a 4-2 victory, getting rid of the bad taste left by the previous game. He netted two goals in the contest and kicked off the scoring 16 minutes, 29 seconds into the game.

The three goals over the weekend for Butler marked the sixth, seventh and eighth scores of his career against UMass.

“He’s playing very well for us right now,” UNH coach Dick Umile said of Butler. “He’s one of our captains and he’s leading by example. He’s a goal scorer, we knew that coming in and he’s got stronger and learned how to play at the defensive end.”

Ortiz leading offense

For the Minutemen, Ortiz himself played well over the weekend as he scored his third goal of the season in Saturday’s loss while chipping in an assist on Friday. The senior has seven assists and three multi-point games this year, making him one of the offensive leaders of a high-powered attack.

UMass coach Don Cahoon feels like the dynamic winger has really come into his own this season.

“I think he’s playing with a renewed energy,” Cahoon said of Ortiz. “He brings an enthusiasm, an energy, and now that he’s shooting the puck so well it gives us an added offensive dimension.”

Second-period woes

Despite the success the Minutemen have had this season, their one Achilles’ Heel might be the second period.

Against Hockey East opponents, UMass has given up eight goals in the second frame while only scoring four, its only negative scoring output of any period.

It was no different over the weekend as the Minutemen were outscored 4-2 in the second period despite outshooting the Wildcats, 32-22.

“We worked our butt off and had nothing but a tie for the period to show for it,” Cahoon said after Saturday’s loss. “I think there was a real sense of urgency and the guys did a good job of changing the momentum of the game. With all that taking place, it still ended up an even period because we gave up two goals.”

Clean skating

The weekend also featured some relatively penalty-free hockey with only a minimal amount of penalties whistled.

Though UMass averages five penalties per game and forces opponents into seven penalties, the penalty box remained vacant for the most part against UNH.

“Well because we’ve gotten off to such a good start on the power play, teams have gone out of their way to stay out of the penalty kill with us,” Cahoon said.

The two teams combined for a total of seven penalties over the weekend and could not capitalize on the limited power-play opportunities.

“I haven’t been in a series in 15 years where there’s only been seven penalties called,” Cahoon said. “That’s not a knock on the referees, that’s just the way the games were played.”

Moving forward, lack of penalties won’t help the Minutemen as they boast one of the top power-play units in the Hockey East.

UMass will look to get back on track with a win when it heads on a three-game road trip beginning Thursday against Yale.

Jay Asser can be reached at jasser@student.umass.edu.

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