Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

Minutemen head to Maine for pivotal weekend of play

To say the Massachusetts hockey team faces its most significant weekend of the season would be an understatement.

Fighting for a chance to earn a spot in the Hockey East Tournament, UMass heads on the road for a pair of games against Maine, with its playoff fate on the line.

Sitting in ninth in the standings, the Minutemen (16-16-0, 11-14-0 HEA) are a point behind Merrimack for eighth place and two points behind Boston University, Northeastern and Vermont, who are all tied for fifth.

The No. 17-ranked Black Bears (16-13-3, 13-10-2 HEA), meanwhile, are third in Hockey East behind Boston College and conference leader New Hampshire.

Though Maine has already gained a berth in the Hockey East Tournament, UMass coach Don Cahoon knows that the Black Bears still have something to play for.

“They’re fighting as hard as we’re fighting, they’re fighting for home ice and they know that’s such a big part of success in the playoff structure,” Cahoon said before Wednesday’s practice. “There’s always the exception to the rule, but that’s a big advantage.”

The Minutemen have won the last three meetings with Maine, including the 5-3 victory on Oct. 23 earlier this season. All those wins, however, came at the Mullins Center. UMass has dropped seven straight contests at Alfond Arena, with the last win coming in the 2003-04 season.

“The environment is just crazy,” Cahoon said. “It’s a tough place to play, and you just have to block everything out and compete.”

All-time, the Black Bears lead the series with the Minutemen, 39-14-5, dating back to 1978, when Maine won 13 of the first 14 meetings. Since 2005, however, the series has been more even, with UMass holding an 8-7-1 edge.

In their last game, the Minutemen were unable to break their losing streak, dropping their sixth straight in a 2-1 overtime heartbreaker at Conte Forum against BC. UMass received its only goal from senior Brett Watson, who scored his first goal in 82 games. At the two minute, two second mark in the extra frame, Chris Kreider scored the game-winning shot for the Eagles.

Junior goaltender Paul Dainton recorded 31 saves in the loss, while Parker Milner made 34 stops for BC.

“Friday’s game was a terrific effort and could have gone either way,” Cahoon said. “It was a game that we were in every bit of a position to win as BC, but the bottom line is we didn’t get the win. Building off of it, I think it’s a quick refresher off of how we need to play to be in the mix.”

Maine, meanwhile, split its weekend’s road contests against Merrimack in North Andover. On Friday night, the Warriors scored six goals en route to a 6-3 win over the Black Bears. The following night, Maine responded with an offensive outpour of its own to defeat Merrimack, 5-1.

Sophomore Gustav Nyquist scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Black Bears’ attack, while freshman goaltender Shawn Sirman made 24 saves and allowed only one goal to pick up his first collegiate win.

Though Maine and UMass have seemingly switched places since the last meeting between the two teams, Cahoon realizes his squad can atone for its recent struggles with wins this weekend.

“We need to just take care of this weekend. About a month ago we were in second place, and now here we are sitting in ninth place,” Cahoon said. “I don’t go there and don’t persuade my guys to go there, they just need to take care of what’s right in front of them and go forward.”

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

Leave A Comment