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

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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