Scrolling Headlines:

UMass football boasts young, balanced rushing attack going into 2016 season -

August 9, 2016

UMass football looks to add more size, depth on defensive side heading into 2016 -

August 9, 2016

UMass football gets back in action with start of training camp -

August 9, 2016

UMass football coach Mark Whipple announces Ross Comis as starting quarterback, transfer Andrew Ford close behind -

August 8, 2016

Amherst PD to encourage registering off-campus parties with implementation of Party Smart Registration program -

July 23, 2016

UMass Board of Trustees votes 11-2 to raise tuition and fees an average of 5.8 percent -

July 14, 2016

Mike Stone announces retirement following 2017 season -

July 13, 2016

‘Warcraft’ delivers a likeable mess -

July 5, 2016

Former UMass field hockey coach Carla Tagliente accepts job at Princeton -

June 29, 2016

50 Activists attend meeting as UMass Board of Trustees approves motion of divestment from fossil fuel companies -

June 16, 2016

Four former Minutemen depart from UMass hockey program -

June 14, 2016

Boston Calling 2016 delivers rousing farewell to City Hall Plaza -

June 2, 2016

Sufjan Stevens unearths quirk at Boston Calling -

June 2, 2016

The Collegian live tweets Boston Calling -

May 28, 2016

UMass baseball finishes season with sweep over George Mason -

May 22, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in NCAA quarterfinal -

May 22, 2016

‘Green Room’ is a bloody blast of survival horror -

May 21, 2016

DaLuz: Boston Celtics stuck trudging in the mud -

May 18, 2016

Despite tallying double-digit hits, UMass baseball falls to Fairfield Tuesday afternoon -

May 17, 2016

Radiohead returns to the top with gorgeous, illuminating ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ -

May 16, 2016

Penalty kill, goalkeeping result in victories for Mass Attack

Geoff King/Collegian

Perhaps it was the nine-day break between games that allowed the players on the Massachusetts hockey team to clear their heads. But coming off the team’s first winning streak of the season, the Minutemen can finally see some of their most concerning statistical lines starting to sway in their direction.

UMass had been having trouble trying to stave off opponents during the penalty kill before last week’s two-game sweep of Quinnipiac and Vermont. Prior to those two meetings, UMass served up 13 goals in 44 opportunities, a 30 percent clip. UMass coach Don Cahoon called the struggling penalty kill the team’s Achilles heel, a recipe for disaster that needed to be remedied immediately.

During the Thanksgiving break, the Minutemen held strong by allowing only one goal in 10 penalty kills. The lone penalty kill goal surrendered was to Quinnipiac, 10 minutes and 31 seconds into the second frame, after the Minutemen had already taken a 4-0 lead. UMass won that game 5-2.

“We’re getting better positional play and better reads in terms of anticipating when to pressure and when not to pressure,” Cahoon said. “The experience that we’re getting for the younger players that are in that situation is invaluable. They unfortunately learned the hard way how you can break down in that situation. It’s not without need of work but in the recent pass it’s been much improved.”

The marked improvement during the penalty kill was a direct result of goalkeeper Paul Dainton and his impressive play in both games.

“It starts with goaltending,” Cahoon said. “He’s your most important penalty kill.”         

Against UVM, it was the senior captain and his career-high 44 saves who patched a strong first period together, making way for his teammates to explode for three goals in the second and seize control of the first win of the season for UMass, 4-1.

Only two weeks ago, opponents were jumping all over the Minutemen in the first period, outscoring UMass 13-4, including 6-1 in the four-game stretch that preceded Thanksgiving week.

Players were starting games over exuberant, according to Cahoon, playing hard but not following through with assignments. This left the Minutemen constantly having to play catch up.

But these last two games saw a different start. 

The Minutemen held both the Catamounts and Bobcats scoreless in the first frame. Instead, it was UMass taking advantage of early chances against Quinnipiac, breaking through for a 2-0 lead in the first period.

However, while UMass held Vermont scoreless until the third period, Cahoon thought the first period of that game might’ve been their worst period of the year.

“The first period wasn’t very good at all,” Cahoon said. “But Dainton saved our bacon. He had a great first period performance and it gave us a chance to make it a 40-minute game.”

Dainton finished the week with 69 total saves, stopping all but three of the 72 shots he faced. His clutch performance earned him the Pure Hockey Defensive Player of the Week Award. His week’s stat line was also highlighted by a 1.50 goal against average and a .958 save percentage.

The recent favorable swing in stats has the Mass Attack at 2-0 coming off its nine-day hiatus. If the recent success during the penalty kill and the first period continues, Dainton and the Minutemen can anticipate more wins to follow.

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

Comments
One Response to “Penalty kill, goalkeeping result in victories for Mass Attack”
  1. Carolyne Ruz says:

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

Leave A Comment