Scrolling Headlines:

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 -

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

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

May 16, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse advances to quarterfinal of NCAA tournament -

May 16, 2016

UMass baseball outlasts Rhode Island in series finale behind strong pitching of Brandon Walsh -

May 15, 2016

Eileen McDonald’s overtime goal advances UMass women’s lacrosse in NCAA tournament -

May 14, 2016

12 UMass students face possible arrests in connection to an alleged bad LSD trip -

May 14, 2016

UMass baseball falls in first-ever Division I matchup with UMass Lowell 7-3 -

May 11, 2016

UMass baseball gets shut out in nonconference matchup with UConn -

May 10, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Richmond, wins eighth straight Atlantic 10 championship -

May 9, 2016

UMass baseball salvages last game of weekend series with Richmond behind strong eighth inning -

May 9, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse beats St. Joe’s, advance to Atlantic 10 championship game -

May 7, 2016

Lack of offense plagues UMass baseball in game two of doubleheader with Fordham -

May 1, 2016

UMass women’s lacrosse tops Davidson 12-5 on Senior Day -

May 1, 2016

Two arrested after report of aggravated robbery in Washington Hall last night -

May 1, 2016

Former UMass wide receiver Tajae Sharpe selected in fifth round of 2016 NFL Draft -

April 30, 2016

Ryan Moloney pitches seven scoreless innings as UMass baseball takes series opener from Fordham -

April 30, 2016

Mass Attack prepare for 1st-round meeting with BC

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

It took the Massachusetts hockey team up until the final game of the regular season to narrowly escape with a spot in this weekend’s playoffs. Now that the Minutemen are there, they must take down defending national champion Boston College in a best-of-three series at Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Minutemen controlled their fate last weekend, needing to get one point in order to qualify for the postseason. A strong-willed third period in the finale against Maine gave them a 4-4 tie and the opportunity to extend their season. It was an opportunity they expected to seize before the season began.

“We absolutely didn’t want to get into a situation where it would’ve been the first time we hadn’t been in the playoffs since my second year here,” said UMass coach Don Cahoon. “I knew we were a young team and that there was going to be difficulties. But at the end of the day, I expected to be playing in the postseason.”

The Eagles will face off with the Minutemen for the fourth time this year. BC has won all three meetings this year, with two of those games played at Conte Forum. While UMass is winless against BC this year, its troubles trace back to last year’s playoffs.

The two teams met up in the first round of the Hockey East tournament last season. The Eagles ended the Minutemen’s season by sweeping that series 6-5 and 5-2, respectively.

BC beat UMass, 5-0, on Feb. 4th of this season, holding a 43-16 shot advantage. The Minutemen held the deficit to 2-0 for most of the night, but broke in the third period, allowing three more to reach the back of the net.

The other two games were tight one-goal affairs. The same night Paul Dainton became the all-time saves leader for UMass, the Minutemen, down 4-1 at one time, fell short in their comeback attempt, eventually falling 4-3. One night later, the Eagles completed the home-and-home sweep in Conte Forum with a narrow 2-1 victory.

However, Cahoon has grown accustomed to the number of close calls this season.

“We’ve had games won and not been able to close them out, but we’ve competed – outside of one weekend – in every one [of those games],” said Cahoon. “That speaks to what we’re all about so we’ve got to find to do that one more thing or make one more play or save in the crucial situation in order to turn those close calls into some successes.”

The last time the Minutemen won at BC was on Nov. 17, 2007, in a 3-2 victory due in large part to Dainton’s 30-save effort.

A similar, if not better, effort will be needed from the senior captain if the Minutemen are going to stand a chance.

“It’s going to take a complete effort by a lot of people and clearly the biggest challenge is [Dainton] in the goal,” said Cahoon. “He’s knows he’s going to be threatened so he has to be sharp.”

Dainton and the defense will have their hands full for the second-straight weekend, dealing with a standout star and one of the nation’s best.

The Eagles feature the conference’s top goal scorer in Cam Atkinson. His 27 goals highlight a roster that boasts six different 10-plus goal scorers for the season.

“We’ve got to be able to play with all of their weapons,” said Cahoon. “Most teams have one line that’s clearly superior to the others. They call their Atkinson line their big line but they’ve got three offensive lines that are very capable and we need to be able to play with those three lines and get our own opportunities.”

The Minutemen will walk a fine line between generating those opportunities and having it backfire on them.

“We need physicality but we need to stay out of the box,” said Cahoon. “That’s crucial for us.”

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

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