Scrolling Headlines:

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

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

UMass looks to get back on track against Warriors Saturday

With the familiar “fading down the stretch” talk surrounding the Massachusetts hockey team after three consecutive losses, the Minutemen will look to rebound and squash doubt when they host Merrimack on Saturday night at the Mullins Center.

“You rebound by just getting back to the simple things that allowed you to succeed and spend some time on identifying what problem areas that get in the way,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “We’ve got one game this week, and we’ve got to dedicate ourselves to take care of that one game for 60 minutes. That’s how we go back to square one and organize.”

In the last two weeks, No. 15 UMass (9-5-0, 5-4-0 Hockey East) had dropped games against then-No. 9 Quinnipiac, then-No. 15 Boston College, and then-No. 8 UMass Lowell. Before the losses, the Minutemen had been undefeated in three previous games against ranked opponents.

The problem for the Minutemen hasn’t been their play, but their loss of focus in one period of each game.

“Clearly, each of the last three games we’ve lost, we’ve played two pretty good periods,” Cahoon said. “The worst of the three periods has been devastating for us in which we were dominated and taken out of our game opportunity.”

In a critical game in the standings, UMass will look to build on its two point lead on their Hockey East rival and gain ground on conference-leader New Hampshire, which leads with a total of 16 points.

The Warriors (7-7-0, 4-5-0 HEA), along with UMass, have had their own problems over the past few weeks, winning one of their last five games.

Cahoon, however, has been impressed with Merrimack this season and doesn’t read too much into its recent struggles.

“I think they’re unquestionably the most improved team in not just our league, but Division I,” Cahoon said. “Mark Dennehy, who was an assistant here, has done a great job recruiting better athletes. They skate well and have some of the top young players in the game. They’ve got really good goaltending, and that gives them the confidence to play with anybody.”

The success the Warriors have experienced so far this season has been a drastic change over past years. The seven wins for Merrimack is only two behind the mark set by the team in 2008-09, in which it went 9-21-4 overall.

In the all-time series with the Warriors, the Minutemen lead with a 32-29-5 record, including 10 straight victories at the Mullins Center. In its last 14 wins, UMass has outscored Merrimack, 63-20, dating back to 2003.

Last season, the Warriors claimed the season series, 2-1, with a pair of wins at Lawler Arena. Merrimack won the first two meetings with scores of 3-1 and 3-2 (overtime), but it was the Minutemen who took the last contest, 6-1, with a high offensive attack.

Though the Minutemen seem to be moving this year in a familiar pattern of past seasons, Cahoon insists that this team is more mature and better-equipped to handle pressure down the stretch.

“Everybody out there is waiting for us to fall on our face. I’ve heard it over and over again, and the kids have heard it over and over again, but I don’t think we feel that way at all,” Cahoon said. “We think we can play through this and have the maturity to deal with it and cope with it.”

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

Leave A Comment