Mass Attack gives up 16 goals in two defeatsIt was no secret to Massachusetts hockey coach Don Cahoon entering this weekend’s road trip that its remaining schedule would pose a major challenge to his team.
Cahoon’s worst nightmare could not have forecast this weekend’s results.
The Minutemen dropped consecutive road games to two Hockey East frontrunners adding to a combined score of 16-2, including its worst-ever loss to No. 12 Merrimack (17-5-4, 11-5-3 HEA), 11-2, on Saturday.
UMass lost 5-0 to Boston College (19-6-0, 15-5-0 HEA) on Friday. The Minutemen (6-15-4, 5-10-4 HEA) are now 0-10-2 against ranked teams this season.
In his postgame press conference, Cahoon had trouble providing any explanation for his team’s lackluster performance and deferred to his players for comment.
Senior captain Paul Dainton said it was the worst game in which he’s ever played.
“We’re going to have to do some soul searching to see what they wanted out of this year,” said Dainton, referring to his teammates in a MassLive.com interview.
Dainton made 49 saves and allowed 10 goals on the weekend, including 35 saves against BC and 14 stops against the Warriors before being pulled in the second period for freshman Jeff Teglia.
Saturday was the first time UMass has allowed 10 or more goals since giving up 12 in a loss to Maine on Feb. 14, 1998, the most goals scored by Merrimack in a game against the Minutemen.
Special teams play was a struggle for UMass, which went 0-for-12 on the power play and 5-for-10 on the penalty kill on the weekend.
After stymieing Northeastern on the power play last weekend (10-for-10 penalty kill) and giving up one goal in its previous eight games (1-for-29 since Jan. 7), the Minutemen penalty kill went 1-for-4 against BC and 4-for-6 at Merrimack.
The UMass power-play is now 0-for-23 in its last four games. The Minutemen didn’t capitalize on 25 Eagle penalty minutes on Friday and 12 Merrimack penalties for 24 minutes on Saturday.
UMass fell early against the Warriors when Fraser Allan scored his first goal of the season with 13 minutes, 21 seconds to play in the opening period.
Junior forward Danny Hobbs evened the score with three minutes 16 seconds left to go in the period off of a Rocco Carzo assist.
Less than two minutes later, Joe Cucci and Chris Barton put Merrimack on top for good, scoring on two separate power-plays in the final two minutes of the period following penalties by Joel Hanley and Hobbs.
Barton finished with five points (two goals, three assists) and Brandon Brodhag had three points (three assists), leading 11 Warriors who tallied multiple points.
Chase Langeraap scored the other Minutemen goal, his seventh of the season and tenth in his last nine games (seven goals, three assists).
UMass was outshot 43-to-16 by the Eagles Friday. BC took 20 shots in the first period to the Minutemen’s six and got out to a 1-0 advantage following a Joe Whitney goal with four minutes 27 seconds left.
The Minutemen took four penalties for 19 minutes in the opening frame, but the Eagles went 0-for-3 on the power-play.
Two Philip Samuelsson goals in the second and third periods, respectively, pushed the Eagle lead out to 3-0. Cam Atkinson finished the scoring with 4 minutes 17 seconds to play in the game, scoring his twentieth goal of the season.
Samuelsson (two goals, one assist) and Atkinson (two assists, one goal) each had three points, leading the Eagles.
Dan Gigliotti can be reached at email@example.com.