Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball drops first game of season to Creighton in MGM Grand Main Event finals -

November 26, 2015

UMass football prepares for final regular season game against Buffalo Friday -

November 25, 2015

UMass men’s basketball continues hot shooting in rout of Clemson Monday night -

November 24, 2015

SGA votes down letter opposing Baker’s statements on refugees -

November 24, 2015

IPO reaches out to local families to host international students for Thanksgiving -

November 24, 2015

Amherst Police Log: Nov. 20-22 -

November 24, 2015

Local Pioneer Valley food banks aim to fight hunger -

November 24, 2015

UMass club sports present petition alleging lack of resources, communication from athletic department -

November 24, 2015

UMass women’s basketball looks to get back on track in Omni Hotels Classic -

November 24, 2015

An inside look at the UMass club baseball team -

November 24, 2015

UMass men’s swimming proves victorious in Terrier Invitational, Minutewomen finish fourth -

November 24, 2015

The benefits of meditation -

November 24, 2015

In wake of Paris attacks, US should not ditch compassion -

November 24, 2015

Letter to the editor: Students for Justice in Palestine respond to a previous op-ed -

November 24, 2015

Student makes UMass history as first to perform mainstage production in wheelchair -

November 24, 2015

Graduate Employee Organization and UMass administrators meet to talk about late pay issues -

November 23, 2015

UMass Dining encourages different programs to prevent hunger in Amherst -

November 23, 2015

FBI agents explain cyber security at UMass talk -

November 23, 2015

Students present demands and tap administrators for answers, additional information at ‘answering session’ -

November 23, 2015

UMass Dining works to reduce amount of food waste created with weight measurement -

November 23, 2015

Pereira making immediate impact as freshman for Minutemen

The Massachusetts hockey team was expecting contributions from its large crop of freshmen players. Nobody expected the type of production rookie forward Michael Pereira has provided thus far, as he is tied for the team-lead in goals (five) and points (seven) through the team’s first nine games.

“Michael has done a great job,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “He brings athleticism and a real sense around the goal in terms of offensive finishing – something that we need as much of as we can get. It’s nice to have a freshman come in and be able to contribute right away on that front.”

Pereira, a native of West Haven, Conn., credits his older brother Joe for creating his interest in hockey. Joe is currently a senior co-captain for Boston University’s team and he is tied for second on the team with four goals in 11 games.

“I started playing hockey because of my older brother,” Mike said. “I kind of just followed his footsteps and started from there.”

He hasn’t looked back since. In the two years prior to committing to UMass, Pereira played for South Kent Prep in Connecticut in 2008-2009, scoring 26 goals and adding 20 assists in 33 games. The following year, the left-winger played for Avon Old Farms School where he tallied 28 goals and 36 assists in 29 games.

“He’s got great quickness, he gets to pucks and he extends plays pretty well as a result of that,” Cahoon said. “He knows from his brother’s experience that there’s a development process. [Michael] has to get stronger, bigger and more physical but he’s’ very much tuned in to that. So he brings a kind of astuteness as a freshman to the table. I think he’s really going to be a productive player here for his entire [career].”

Pereira’s production in high school opened the eyes of various schools, but when it came down to it, he chose to don Maroon and White.

“I love the coaching staff here,” Pereira said. “I felt at home, [the Mullins Center] is a great building, and it’s a great campus. Coach Cahoon and [assistant] coach Red Gendron showed a real interest in me. There were a couple of schools in the mix but I love being here and I feel at home so that’s all that matters.”

Pereira grew up a New York Rangers fan and he likes to compare his game to one of their star players.

“[I’m] a little bit [like] Marian Gaborik,” Pereira said, laughing. “I’m a Rangers fan so I like watching Gaborik play. Obviously he shoots it about 20 times harder than me; [he’s fun to watch].”

Gaborik is a good comparison as both players showcase speed, playmaking ability and poise with the puck. Although one is a bona fide NHL all-star, the other is doing his best to stand out in Hockey East, arguably the toughest division in college hockey.

Pereira credits much of his success to his linemates.

“When you play with good guys like Rocco Carzo, who I’ve been playing [on a line] with all year, it makes its pretty easy,” Pereira said. “When you have a good line and you mix well together, you kind of find yourself at the right place at the right time and I’ve been doing that as of late.”

Pereira and Carzo lead UMass in the plus-minus category at +5 and +4, respectively. However, despite the line’s success, Pereira and the rest of the Minutemen are still looking for their first win.

“It’s definitely fun to contribute but obviously I’d rather have wins,” Pereira said. “It’s definitely been an experience as of yet.”

The Minutemen, who last played to a 3-3 tie against New Hampshire on Nov. 13, have made the most of their nine-day break.

“It’s been a good break for us, we took a few days off and rested after this rollercoaster ride of a beginning,” Pereira said. “We’ve worked hard the last couple days especially to get ourselves ready for [tonight’s] game against Vermont. After this break we can all kind of settle down and take a deep breath and just give it another run.”

Steve Levine can be reached at

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