April 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

VIDEO: UMass United Ralley in support of Derrick Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Friday, April 18, 2014

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Even without Marcou and Wellman, power play looking to be successful

On Oct. 2, the Massachusetts hockey season officially began when it lost an exhibition match to New Brunswick, 4-3.

The result was reminiscent of last year’s opener, when the Minutemen lost a 3-2 exhibition to the same team. UMass went on to win its next four games, outscoring opponents 15-10.

Much of that early success was credited to players who are no longer on the roster, including James Marcou, Casey Wellman and Matt Irwin. All three signed contracts with the NHL upon the season’s conclusion, with Marcou and Wellman taking the anchor of the team’s first power-play unit with them.

This year, however, the Minutemen did not turn around its early defeat, instead they lost their next two games at the hands of No. 15 Minnesota last weekend. Without some of its star players, UMass’ success this year will largely depend on its new, younger roster that features 13 freshmen.

Nonetheless, the start to the regular season wasn’t exactly what UMass coach Don Cahoon envisioned, although there were certainly a few positive things he took away from the weekend.

For one, UMass showed strong resilience to close out the weekend, coming back from an early 3-0 deficit to eventually lose, 5-4. Cahoon acknowledged this in an interview conducted by UMassAthletics.com.

“We competed from behind, we showed resiliency, and we didn’t fold up in a venue where a lot of teams fold up,” Cahoon said.

Instead, UMass came out firing after the first intermission, scoring three times in the second period while registering 12 shots on goal to Minnesota’s six.

The Minutemen continued pouring shots on net in the third, outshooting the Golden Gophers, 17-10.

“I was pleased to how we responded to the adversity of being down three goals, [but] I don’t like the idea of being down three. There’s [a lot] to work on,” Cahoon said.

UMass finished with a 36-33 shot advantage. Three Minutemen registered more than five shots on goal: junior Danny Hobbs, sophomore Rocco Carzo and freshman Branden Gracel. Although Hobbs and Carzo are not seniors, they are looked at to provide a veteran presence to the young UMass team.

The absence of Wellman and Marcou on the power-play was evident, as the Minutemen went 0-5 in power play opportunities.

“We had all sorts of power-play opportunities,” Cahoon said. “I thought the last power-play we had we moved the puck around extremely well. We had a couple of open nets and we just have to bury those opportunities. I wasn’t disappointed; I thought we had some real good power play looks.”

Fortunately for the Minutemen, it didn’t take too long before they started receiving big contributions from freshmen players.

 In the series-opener on Oct. 8, freshman Michael Pereira and sophomore Darren Rowe scored the first two goals of UMass’ season, both via the power-play.

“[Pereira] can make plays offensively for sure. He scored a nice goal and he had a couple of near misses. He’s very gifted,” Cahoon said. “We had some young guys play really well, some other guys made some mistakes but that’s part of the development process.”

The development process is well underway. The two-game series against Minnesota served as an opportunity for the Minutemen to gain structure and make sense out of its youthful roster.

The series also represented the last non-conference games the Minutemen will play. On Oct. 16, UMass will open its Hockey East schedule when they travel to Boston for a match against No. 10 ranked Boston University.

Steve Levine can be reached at slevine@student.umass.edu.

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