Massachusetts hockey goaltender Kevin Moore has only played three minutes, 40 seconds on the ice in his four years with the Minutemen.
But there’s a chance that could change on Friday.
UMass will welcome No. 12 Merrimack to the Mullins Center on Friday night for the first of a home-and-home series. Friday’s game will be Senior Night for UMass, which has four players graduating, Moore included.
Traditionally, Senior Night is the last home game of the season where the seniors are honored in a pregame ceremony then allowed to play as a way to honor their contributions to the program.
In this case, however, there is a possibility that Moore might not play, considering the playoff implications that this weekend’s games carry.
The Minutemen (12-15-5, 8-13-4 Hockey East) are tied for eighth place in Hockey East heading into Friday’s game. Only the top eight teams in the 10-team league qualify for postseason play, and UMass needs every point in its last series of the season.
“We are right in the middle of a playoff push,” said Moore. “We need to do what’s best for the team at this point. I have never played in a big pressure situation at the collegiate level, so logically it would be smarter to put in a goalie who has played consistently throughout the season in big games.”
But one small outcropping of students disagrees with Moore’s team-first mentality.
“The Bench Crew,” a Twitter group of UMass students, supports allowing Moore to play on his Senior Night, regardless of the playoff implications. The group displayed signs at last weekend’s games against New Hampshire that read “Put In Moore,” and included reference to their Twitter movement, “#freemoore.”
The Twitter group has worked hard to promote the movement in an effort to catch the eye of UMass’s coaching staff with the hopes that Moore will see at least some time in his final home game. It has even tweeted pro players like Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, the Boston Bruins and the New England Sports Network.
Former UMass goalie Paul Dainton also put in a good word for his former teammate.
“I have heard of the movement, and I’m all for it,” said Dainton. “Kevin has given countless hours to this program, and nothing would make me happier than to see him get in there for Senior Night.”
Moore has been with the Minutemen since the spring of 2009. He has one official save, the first and only one of his collegiate career, and enjoys a 1.000 save percentage because of it.
He said that he is grateful for the support from UMass fans, but ultimately he understands if he doesn’t get the opportunity to play against the Warriors.
“I love seeing the support and it would mean a lot to me to be able to play here on senior night, but I would rather see us earn a spot in the playoffs,” he said.
David Martin can be reached at email@example.com.