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

Minutemen open campaign at Minnesota over weekend

Maxwell Sparr/Collegian

The Massachusetts men’s hockey team is eager to begin its 2010-11 season. The setting will be Minneapolis, Minn. as the Minutemen face No. 15 Minnesota on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We’re very anxious,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “We’ve got a tall order and that’s good because the whole league is a tall order. I remember an old Harvard coach saying years and years ago ‘Minnesota: the land of 10,000 lakes. It’s pretty cold out there; they probably have some pretty good hockey players.’ So they’re going to very good.”

UMass is coming off an 18-18-0 season, during which it went 9-8-0 versus ranked teams, the program’s best all-time record against ranked opponents. This is only the second and third time UMass will face Minnesota in program history, with the only other matchup against the Gophers coming in 2004 at the Nye Frontier Classic, in which the Gophers won, 1-0.

Cahoon has a career 1-1-0 record against the Gophers. However, he is still very aware of this weekend’s opponent.

“I know quite a bit about the building they play in, the types of teams they package,” Cahoon said. “They’re a great program and have been for many, many years. [Minnesota coach] Don Lucia is an excellent coach.”

The Gophers finished last season with an 18-19-2 mark, with their offense managing 2.72 goals per game last season, an average of about 0.5 less than the year before. However, the team expects the offense to perform better this season. They are counting on the return of redshirt senior and team captain Jay Barriball, who carries a team-high 102 career points with him.

UMass goalie Paul Dainton, the sole team captain for the Minutemen returns for his senior year in front of the net. He held a 3.08 goals against average last season with a .901 save percentage, and is one of the top returning goaltenders in Hockey East.

Dainton and Barriball have never faced each others’ teams. But while both teams do not have much experience against one another, Cahoon’s team will continue to work on its fundamentals.

“There’s a whole slew of things we need to get better at,” Cahoon said. “Whether it be holding opposition defensively, being a little more physically inclined in the goal area. We need to be a better shot-blocking team, more poised and collected. Our youthfulness shows itself. That comes with time and with 13 freshmen getting to be in the mix on a regular basis. And it will come, but there’s no shortage of areas to work on in practice.”

The youthful Minutemen will walk into a hostile environment at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers went 8-8-1 at their home rink last year.

“I’ve been there many times,” Cahoon said. “It’s 11,000 people just screaming their heads off. Big time gopher chants. It’s a Big Ten operation that functions at a high level. We go in and give it our best shot. We try to get places in a hurry and get there in ill humor, making it a real difficult proposition for them. Hopefully we can execute on special teams, get good goaltending and come out of there with a ‘W.’”

While Cahoon knows that every season is a unique season, over the last couple of years, UMass has gotten off to strong starts. The Minutemen started 7-1-0 last season, and began 6-2-1 in 2008-09.

In order to sustain that standard, UMass will have to play three-straight road games, something that has never been done to start a season. The road begins in Minnesota. The Minutemen will need to draw from Cahoon’s experience there to bring them their first victory of the season.

Pete Vasquez can be reached at pvasquez@student.umass.edu.

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