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

Special teams playing a big factor

After struggling on the power play in losses during winter break, the Massachusetts hockey team has played consistently on special teams in the past week and a half, resulting in three consecutive wins. 

In their three losses over winter recess, the No. 15 Minutemen (14-8-0, 9-6-0 Hockey East) were outscored on the power play, 3-6. Despite having six more man advantage opportunities than its opponents, UMass went 3 for 19 on offense while the penalty kill allowed six goals in 13 attempts. 

During their current three-game winning streak, the Minutemen have outscored opponents, 5-0. 

UMass coach Don Cahoon knows that playing well on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck during penalties is important. 

“Special teams and goaltending are critical factors, and will continue to be,” he said. 

For the season, the Minutemen are 27 for 109 on the power play with a 24.8 percent conversion rate, ranking them third in the Hockey East behind Maine and Merrimack. 

On the penalty kill, however, UMass sits seventh in the conference just ahead of New Hampshire, Maine, and Northeastern with an 80.7 success rate. The Minutemen have killed off 71-of-88 chances, tying them with the Wildcats for the least amount of power play opportunities given up. 

“We have the talent to be able to execute in those situations,” Cahoon said. “We do pretty well on the penalty kill and certainly the power play has been one of the tops in the country all year long.” 

This weekend, UMass will face a test in No. 17 Vermont (11-7-2, 5-6-2 HEA), which has had a near-automatic penalty kill as of late, wasting the last 40-of-42 opponent chances. 

“Some teams play us real tough and if we’re not totally focused and we’re not executing the way we’re capable of, it can be neutralized and be the difference in the game,” Cahoon said. 

Dainton rebounding 

In UMass’ second loss during its losing streak, which came at the hands of Boston University, goaltender Paul Dainton statistically had one of the worst games of his career. 

Dainton, who previously made 39 saves while allowing two goals in a 3-2 win over then-No. 2 BU, struggled against the Terriers the second time around. BU pelted 29 shots on goal, scoring six times on Dainton with two goals coming in each period. 

“With the BU game we kind of went in there and were just fighting the puck and just the team overall, we weren’t playing that great,” Dainton said. 

Following that game, Dainton was given a day off as Dan Meyers faced similar difficulties in allowing seven goals in his start between the pipes against New Hampshire. 

Dainton, though, rebounded well after his poor performance, leading the Minutemen to three straight victories. In the wins, he allowed a total of four goals while making 71 saves, with his best game coming at the Tsongas Arena in the second night of a home-and-home against then-No. 15 UMass Lowell. 

As a junior, Dainton is still getting better, and knows he still has room for improvement. 

“I’ve been working with my goalie coach, just a lot of mental work to work on different things and I can see a tremendous difference in it already.” 

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

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