Scrolling Headlines:

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

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

Mass Attack prepare for pivotal series vs. Huskies

Last Friday’s 7-1 loss to Boston College gave the Massachusetts hockey team few positives, if it gave them any at all.

But moving ahead, the No. 18 Minutemen may look at this weekend’s opponent as a positive: Northeastern.

At the beginning of January, the Minutemen fell in back-to-back games to Boston University, 7-3, and to New Hampshire, 7-2. The night following the loss to the Wildcats, UMass (16-11-0, 11-9-0 Hockey East) headed to Northeastern with a sense of focus after being embarrassed the night before.

The Minutemen left that night with a 4-1 victory over the Huskies (13-12-1, 8-10-1 HEA), and won another three in row to tie their longest winning streak since winning four to start the season.

Goaltender Paul Dainton bounced back in the contest, after giving up six goals to BU, by holding Northeastern to one goal and allowed five in the four-game winning streak.

Dainton and the rest of the Minutemen will look again for a similar focus this weekend and to bounce back from recent struggles with a home-and-home set with the Huskies starting tonight in the Mullins Center at 7 p.m. followed by another 7 p.m. contest Saturday at Northeastern.

“We’ve done this before,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “We came off a tough loss at UNH where we didn’t play much better and there was a rejuvenated enthusiasm if you will and kind of a narrow focus put in place.”

Friday’s loss is seen as a mulligan to Cahoon, knowing that there is little he can take away from the loss, even a learning lesson.

“We can’t be playing like that in any case and that’s exactly what it was. It’s got to be a mulligan, we can’t dwell on it,” Cahoon said. “There wasn’t even enough in the game tape to even make it a productive learning lesson, it was just a real bad outing from A-Z.”

Northeastern (2.65 goals per game) isn’t quite the offensive powerhouse that BC (2.85), but Cahoon finds the Huskies to have a lot of similarities to the Minutemen and is not a team to be taken lightly.

“They are a lot like we are, they play real hard and they have a couple of kids who they rely on for their offensive production,” Cahoon said. “They have a young goaltender who has been very good at times and other times has been suspect, so I think you just come out and take it shift by shift.”

Although UMass used Northeastern to get back on the winning track a month ago, it doesn’t mean it can be taken lightly. While the Huskies currently sit in eighth place in the conference standings with 17 points, a weekend sweep would put them one point behind UMass who currently is in fourth place.

“We have to play at a pace and with conviction and that is something that has been hard pressed to find day-in and day-out,” Cahoon said. “Playing with conviction is a big one for me. I think that is how you approach Northeastern.”

Not only would a sweep by the Huskies be vital for them in moving up in the standings, it could also prove devastating to UMass. Behind the Minutemen is a three-team tie for fifth place between BU, Vermont and UMass-Lowell, all with 18 points. With the top four teams in the conference earning home ice in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament, the Minutemen sit in a highly coveted spot.

On the other hand, UMass is in a position to move up in the standings as well if it can bounce back against Northeastern as it did last month. Just two points ahead of the Minutemen in a tie for second place is BC and Maine, who each face tough competition this weekend. The Eagles play a home-and-home set with UML while the Black Bears play twice at BU, a team who has won three of its last four and seven of its last 10.

Jeffrey R. Larnard can be reached at jlarnard@dailycollegian.com.

Leave A Comment