Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Mass Attack’s difficult season continues on

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

To say the Massachusetts men’s hockey team has endured a difficult season would be an understatement. It’s not about to get any easier.

On Friday, the Minutemen will play the first of 10 remaining games against No. 1 ranked Boston College, which UMass will play again on Feb. 25. After the Eagles, the Minutemen will go on to play No. 12 Merrimack twice, No. 14 Boston University once and No. 15 Maine twice to close out the season.

Comparing the skill set between UMass and its competition over the next month is enough to consider the Minutemen as severe underdogs. Adding fatigue and injuries to UMass’ youthful roster can’t help its cause.

However, with the chips stacked against them, don’t expect any excuses from UMass coach Don Cahoon. When asked if his team is fatigued, Cahoon replied sarcastically, “Are you tired? [This won’t be discussed].”

As adamant as Cahoon is about not making excuses for his team, it’s hard to ignore the amount of injuries the Minutemen have faced in recent games. Junior defensemen Michael Marcou hasn’t played since Dec. 31, and senior winger Danny Hobbs is the latest Minuteman to go down with an injury in UMass’ last game against Northeastern, a 2-2 tie.

“Hopefully we get everybody healed so that we’ve got all our skill sets and talent ready to contribute,” Cahoon said.

In order to protect his players, Cahoon would not elaborate on the extent of his team’s injuries. He also couldn’t get into details about when he can boast a healthy roster.

“I think we’re going to get some players back and to what extent and who [and] when, that’s day to day and that’s the truth,” Cahoon said. “I could throw a couple of names out there … but until they play I can’t be sure.”

Ideally, with everyone healthy, UMass still features one of the youngest teams in the nation. The majority of its 13 freshmen see a lot of ice time game in and game out. Coaching this young group can’t be easy.

“We have to make sure that we don’t create a situation where there’s paralysis to analysis,” Cahoon said. “There [needs to be] good teaching and a foundation in place to let these kids go out and get after it.”

Prior to the season, the Minutemen were picked to finish ninth in the Hockey East standings. They currently sit in seventh with a four-point cushion between No. 8 Providence. Given everything thrown its way, a seventh place finish would exceed expectations for UMass. The top eight teams make the playoffs, so it’s likely that the Minutemen will be there. If the season ended today, UMass would travel to Boston College to play the Eagles in a best-of-three series.

What UMass does have going for itself is its grit and determination. These qualities carried the Minutemen to unlikely victories before, and could provide more in the future. Still, getting points throughout this home stretch will be no easy task.

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

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