Scrolling Headlines:

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

February 23, 2017

The Hart of the Lineup -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

February 23, 2017

UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

February 23, 2017

Quiet beauty roars in ‘Lion’ -

February 23, 2017

Minutemen prepare for final series of regular season

It all comes down to this.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

With just two regular-season games remaining, the fate of a postseason berth for the Massachusetts hockey team will be decided, beginning Friday when UMass (12-15-5, 8-13-4 Hockey East) hosts No. 12 Merrimack at the Mullins Center.

Friday’s matchup against the Warriors (16-9-7, 12-8-5 HEA) will conclude the regular season for the Minutemen, as seniors Danny Hobbs, T.J. Syner, Michael Marcou and Kevin Moore will be honored.

“We’re in the pressure cooker right now,” said Hobbs of the postseason implications of this final weekend.

With its 20 conference points, UMass sits tied for the eighth and final spot among qualifying teams with Northeastern. If both the Minutemen and the Huskies remain tied in points after Saturday, the tiebreaker could come down to whether No. 8 UMass Lowell or No. 4 Boston University is the higher seed.

UMass would win the tiebreaker if the No. 4 Terriers, who sit in the second spot, finish higher than the No. 8 Riverhawks, who sit in third place, two points behind. If UML leapfrogs BU, then Northeastern would claim the final postseason seed for the tournament.

“We’ve been in a ‘highly alert’ type of mindset for the last three or four weeks, because each weekend something needed to be accomplished,” said UMass coach Don ‘Toot’ Cahoon of the unpredictable season.

The Minutemen have experienced nearly every emotion this season as they have lost in the final seconds and had amazing moments when the team nearly pulls everything together

Now, their season hangs by a thread.

“[We’ve worked to] give ourselves a chance and now we have that chance,” added Cahoon.

The Warriors (29 points) currently sit fifth in the conference standings, the same spot they were predicted to finish in the preseason coaches poll. They trail only No. 10 Maine (30 points) by one point for the fourth spot and the Riverhawks (31 points) by two, meaning that this Friday and Saturday’s home-and-home series has major implications for Merrimack.

The Warriors are currently on their worst stretch of the season, going 1-2-1 over the last four and 1-3-2 over the last six.

However, Merrimack won six straight at the start the season and nine of its first 10.

The Warriors are led in net by senior goaltender Joe Cannata. He has started 30 games this year, posting a 15-9-6 record while surrendering 2.14 goals per contest. Merrimack’s defense and goaltending has been a staple all season, as it allows 2.28 goals per game in conference play. Controlling the low area by the net will be a key component to UMass’ strategy.

“We did a good job last Saturday night [against New Hampshire] at creating screens, creating a net presence … and taking the goalie’s eyes away,” said Cahoon. “That’s absolutely essential against a goaltender like Cannata.”

Offensively, the Warriors rank ninth in conference play with 2.56 goals per contest, while the Minutemen rank fifth (three goals per game). Merrimack is led by junior’s Jesse Todd (11 goals, 25 points) and Ryan Flanigan (nine goals, 26 points). Fellow junior Karl Stollery (seven goals, 21 points) and freshman Mike Collins (seven goals, 20 points) have also contributed to Merrimack’s attack.

Friday’s game at the Mullins Center will start at 7 p.m. UMass will then travel to North Andover for Saturday’s game that starts at 7 p.m.

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

Comments
One Response to “Minutemen prepare for final series of regular season”
  1. Sam says:

    UMass has a better record against BC (the current number one team) than Northeastern, so wouldn’t we keep the tiebreaker unless BU or Lowell pass them?

Leave A Comment