Scrolling Headlines:

Report: UMass football’s Todd Stafford arrested Saturday morning in Stamford, Connecticut -

Monday, July 20, 2015

UMass names Molly O’Mara newly-created associate director of athletics for communications and PR -

Monday, July 20, 2015

Baker approves state budget, UMass to receive $5.25 million less than legislature’s proposed figure -

Friday, July 17, 2015

UMass bathroom policy to provide comfort, safety for transgender and non-gender conforming students -

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Long-time UMass professor Normand Berlin, 83, dies -

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

UMass professor and poet James Tate dies at 71 -

Thursday, July 9, 2015

State legislators propose budget, UMass could receive almost $532 million -

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cause of death determined for UMass student Chloe Malast -

Monday, July 6, 2015

Nick Mariano, Zach Oliveri transferring from UMass men’s lacrosse program -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Four months after banning Iranian students from certain graduate programs, UMass announces new measures to ensure compliance with U.S. law -

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Justin King sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison -

Monday, June 29, 2015

Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court ruling clears way for same-sex marriage nationwide -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Former UMass center Cady Lalanne taken 55th overall by Spurs in 2015 NBA Draft -

Friday, June 26, 2015

Second of four men found guilty on three counts of aggravated rape in 2012 UMass gang rape case -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Boston bomber speaks out for first time: ‘I am sorry for the lives I have taken’ -

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King claims sex with woman was consensual during alleged 2012 gang rape -

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrongful death suit filed in death of UMass student -

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ryan Bamford uses online Q&A session to discuss UMass football conference search, renovation plans, cost of attendance -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Opening statements delivered, first witnesses called in second trial for alleged 2012 gang rape at UMass -

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Improved penalty kill contributes to recent success

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Massachusetts hockey team took advantage of UMass Lowell on Saturday afternoon, using newfound confidence, an improved penalty kill and a quick lead to propel the team to its third-straight victory.

Earlier in the season, UMass was plagued by slow starts and early deficits. The Minutemen have reversed that trend during their current winning streak, jumping out to 2-0 leads against conference rivals Vermont and UML and non-conference foe Quinnipiac.

“I think [the early leads] are a byproduct of just playing better in a lot of different areas,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “[Our] hustle and competitiveness and a better level of confidence in terms of moving the puck and getting the puck to the net has allowed us to get a few more goals.”

The Minutemen dominated the first period, outshooting the River Hawks, 11-4, while jumping out to another 2-0 lead. Junior forward T.J. Syner tallied the first goal for UMass seven minutes into the period, and Danny Hobbs scored the second four minutes later.

Despite the early lead, UMass reverted to shoddy play in the second, taking penalties and giving UMass Lowell momentum, as the River Hawks scored two unanswered goals to tie the game.

Although the second period belonged to Lowell, the Minutemen penalty kill did a nice job of not letting it get too out of hand, killing off two of three penalties.

“The penalty kill really hurt us early in the year,” Cahoon said. “We were so inexperienced and unsure of ourselves. We’d take one or two penalties in a period, but they were getting one or two goals off of those penalties.”

 That is not the case anymore, as the UMass penalty killers are making smarter decisions with the puck and finding ways to block more shots for their captain, Paul Dainton, who is finding his groove in net.

The Minutemen used their first period success as a blueprint for the third period, as they outskated and outshot the River Hawks, 15-12. UMass’ Doug Kublin scored the game-winner 10 seconds into the stanza before Hobbs and rookie Eric Filiou added on two more insurance goals later.

UMass’ third period play met Cahoon’s expectations for his team.

 “We came out in the first period and moved our feet, played hard and continued basically what’s going on with this team, at least for the last week or so.”

Earlier this year, UMass couldn’t seem to finish out close games, as it would either drop one-goal decisions or end in draws. Now UMass has some success which it can fall back on when dealing with adversity. That is exactly what the Minutemen did to take over the game in the third period.

“We went in the dressing room and we knew it was a 2-2 game,” Filiou, who scored his first collegiate goal, said. “We had 20 minutes to get back into it, so we motivated ourselves, [got] the momentum going, we went out there [in the third], scored the next goal and never looked back.”

The last week or so has shown the Minutemen a recipe for success: confident play, quick starts and penalty killing.

As usual, Cahoon doesn’t want to overindulge in his team’s recent successes, but he recognizes in his squad a new level of play.

“We’[ve got] a long way to go, but I think there’s been a dramatic improvement in those areas,” Cahoon said.

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

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