Scrolling Headlines:

Baldwin’s floor-spacing sparks UMass men’s basketball against Georgia -

December 17, 2017

Hot outside shooting leads UMass over Georgia -

December 16, 2017

Minutemen knock off Georgia for big statement win -

December 16, 2017

Cale Makar selected to play for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championships -

December 15, 2017

UMass men’s basketball looks to remain undefeated at home when Georgia comes to town -

December 15, 2017

Editorial: Our shift to a primarily digital world -

December 13, 2017

Makar, Ferraro off to Ontario to compete for Team Canada’s World Junior hockey team -

December 12, 2017

Lecture attempts to answer whether treatment of depression has resulted in over-prescription of SSRIs -

December 12, 2017

Palestinian students on campus react to President Trump’s recent declaration -

December 12, 2017

Smith College hosts social media panel addressing impact of social media on government policies -

December 12, 2017

GOP Tax Plan will trouble working grad students -

December 12, 2017

Mario Ferraro making his mark with UMass -

December 12, 2017

Minutewomen look to keep momentum going against UMass Lowell -

December 12, 2017

Ames: UMass hockey’s turnaround is real, and it’s happening now -

December 12, 2017

When your favorite comedian is accused of sexual assault -

December 12, 2017

A snapshot of my college experience -

December 12, 2017

Homelessness is an issue that’s close to home -

December 12, 2017

Allowing oil drilling in Alaska sets a dangerous precedent -

December 12, 2017

‘She’s Gotta Have It’ is a television triumph -

December 12, 2017

Some of my favorite everyday brands -

December 12, 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