April 23, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Renowned rabbi discusses the role of religion in American policy -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UMass baseball haunted by missed opportunities in 8-5 loss -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Transcendence’ a fumbling cautionary tale -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Freedom of speech for campus employees -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Veep’ continues to be one of the smartest comedies around -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

‘Noah’ a sinking ship -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letter: A response to ‘There is nothing to debate about global warming’ -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Push for punishment equality -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UMass baseball lacks aggressiveness, misses opportunities in loss -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Police Log Friday, April 18 – Sunday, April 20, 2014 -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

UMass student spends spring break studying sustainability abroad -

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boston Marathon 2014: A day to remember -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UMass baseball falls short in second straight Beanpot final -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fashion faux-pas to fend off at music festivals -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The meaning of Easter -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Is Beyoncé a ‘fashion queen’ or just The Queen? -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Protect Our Breasts holds Earth Day Yogathon -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UMass holds annual Native American Powwow -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Israel a hub for diversity -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UMass rowing earns five first place finishes on Friday, two on Saturday in weekend action -

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

UMass struggles continue away from Mullins, balance on offense key down stretch

Last Saturday, season-long road woes continued for the Massachusetts hockey team.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Minutemen (9-10-5, 5-8-4 Hockey East) suffered a 5-2 loss Saturday night against No. 11 UMass Lowell as part of a home-and-away trip on back-to-back nights, remaining winless this season in true road games (0-8-2).

For UMass, the agonizing season-long slide has been the trend for much of the last year and a half. Dating back to the beginning of last season, the Minutemen have rolled out a 2-23-4 record away from the Mullins Center in true road contests.

“We’ve been looking at a lot of tape this week on the last couple of games,” said senior defenseman Michael Marcou, who has led the defensive effort for UMass this year. “It’s pretty frustrating, and we’re obviously disappointed in the way we played … We’ve had a really good week of practice and the preparation is there for us to have a good weekend coming up.”

The Minutemen have underperformed against HEA opponents dating back to last season, going 2-17-4 on the road.

But with such damage coming on the road, the Minutemen are looking for the confidence booster to aid the ailing side. Senior forward T.J. Syner has taken it upon himself to assist his team in getting to places it needs to go.

“As a captain, I’ve been trying to keep on guys,” said Syner, who’s had success winning on the road in previous years with the program. “The younger guys have learned quickly that you can’t take nights off, so we’re just working really hard to correct our mistakes and play like we were not long ago.”

If the Minutemen can correct its mistakes on the road, it will be physically and mentally tested to compete with the best come tournament time in early March.

Scoring by committee

UMass has found all sorts of ways to put the puck in the net this year.

Senior co-captains Danny Hobbs and Syner, both ranked in the Top 5 in goals scored for the Minutemen last season, have found the same success this year but in different ways and at different times.

Syner – who is on the ballot for the 2011-2012 Hobey Baker Award, recognizing the most outstanding player in the nation every year – has been a force against the rest of the conference. Against HEA opponents, Syner is averaging 1.06 points per game, proving that he’s the most significant offensive threat UMass has.

Hobbs, who spent most of the first half of the season dealing with lower-body injuries, has come alive as of late to help the offense. Before last Friday and Saturday’s contests, Hobbs netted five goals in the team’s previous four games, including three against Vermont on Jan. 20 for his first career hat trick.

However, scoring for one or two individual players on a given hockey team comes and goes.

If the Minutemen want to continue to score, it must look to younger players to step up consistently. Sophomores Conor Sheary and Michael Pereira may be the answers UMass are looking for.

Pereira and Sheary have shown that they are capable of scoring consistently when passes reach their sticks. Pereira, a standout last season as a freshman with 12 goals (tied for team lead in 2010-2011 with Hobbs) and 25 points, has not scored since Dec. 29 against Cornell. Sheary, who has blown up onto the national scene, has netted eight goals and tallied 26 total points.

With Hobbs, Syner and other offensive notables leaving after this year, Pereira and Sheary will be left as the main offensive contributors. However if UMass wants any shot of making noise in the conference tournament next month, the offense should look to get the two more involved.

Scott Cournoyer can be reached at scournoy@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cournoyer.

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