Scrolling Headlines:

Pat Kelsey informs UMass AD Ryan Bamford of change of heart just 35 minutes before scheduled press conference -

March 23, 2017

Past and present UMass football players participate in 2017 Pro Day Thursday -

March 23, 2017

Pat Kelsey reportedly backs down from UMass men’s basketball coaching position -

March 23, 2017

Students react to new fence around Townehouses -

March 23, 2017

‘Do You Have The Right To Do Drugs?’ debate held in Bowker Auditorium -

March 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to build on three-game winning streak against Brown -

March 23, 2017

UMass softball riding five-game win streak into first Atlantic 10 showdown -

March 23, 2017

Sanzo: Inability to win close games has hurt UMass baseball -

March 23, 2017

Hannah Murphy scores 100th career goal in UMass women’s lacrosse 16-9 win over Harvard -

March 23, 2017

Old age does no harm to indie rock legends The Feelies -

March 23, 2017

A track-by-track breakdown of Drake’s new project -

March 23, 2017

When a president lies -

March 23, 2017

Let them eat steak, and other gender norms I hate -

March 23, 2017

Dissecting Science: Episode Two -

March 22, 2017

Holy Cross 10-run eighth inning sinks UMass baseball -

March 22, 2017

UMass students react to Spring Concert lineup -

March 22, 2017

Letter: Vote yes for Amherst -

March 22, 2017

You don’t have to walk alone -

March 22, 2017

Tyler Bogart and D.J. Smith lead UMass men’s lacrosse during three game win streak -

March 22, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse emphasizes defense in approaching games as its key to gaining momentum for conference play -

March 22, 2017

UMass hockey with championship aspirations at Dartmouth tournament

Playing in a holiday tournament is no rarity in college hockey.

Maria Uminski/Collegian

Nearly every Division I program in the country takes part in one, and oftentimes it serves as an opportunity for teams to go up against unfamiliar opponents and jumpstart the second half of the season.

However, Massachusetts hockey coach John Micheletto is looking for something greater when his team takes part in the Ledyard National Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H., this weekend: he wants his team to learn how to win a championship.

The Minutemen (5-9-2, 4-6-1 Hockey East Association) will have the opportunity to take that first step towards a championship when they take on Bemidji State on Sunday at 3 p.m. in day one of the two-day tournament.

With a win, UMass will play the winner of New Hampshire and Dartmouth on Monday at 7 p.m. for the title. But if they lose, the Minutemen will be forced to settle for the third-place game at 3 p.m. with the loser of the other game.

“The thing that’s not gonna go unnoticed is that it’s a chance to potentially win a championship,” Micheletto said. “Whether you’re doing it in a preseason tournament or at the holiday time, it’s a skill we want to perfect.”

Sunday’s game with the Beavers (5-8-3, 4-7-3 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) will mark just the second meeting between the two schools. The last time they faced off was in the same tournament back in 2008, which BSU won 4-2.

The previous meeting, of course, has no bearing on what happens Sunday, but the Minutemen expect a challenge. The Beavers have three players over the 10-point mark this season, led by senior forward Brance Orban with four goals and eight assists in 16 games played.

BSU has also found a reliable force between the pipes in sophomore goaltender Andrew Walsh. Walsh is 4-4-2 with a 2.17 goals against average and .929 save percentage, and is expected to provide a challenge for the UMass forwards.

The unfamiliarity with the Beavers could make things tough on the Minutemen, but Micheletto embraces the opportunity to see teams from other parts of the country.

“I think it’s always nice to see somebody from out west,” he said. “Bemidji’s from another league so it’s nice to see how we stack up against the other half of the country. I think our guys are looking forward to it.”

Micheletto is especially hopeful that a successful showing could help propel UMass to a deep run in the second half of the season.

“It’s an opportunity to vie for a title,” Micheletto said of the tournament. “Hopefully if we handle it well, experience it in the way that we expect to, then it will go a long way come the end of the season as well.”

Shaking off the rust

Sunday will be the first time UMass has played since a 4-2 loss at No. 15 Yale on Dec. 11 to cap off a three-game losing streak heading into the holiday break.

Micheletto was visibly frustrated following the losses, but said he isn’t concerned with how things played out and chose not to dwell on how his team closed out the unofficial first half of the season.

“Obviously you want your guys to be as sharp as ever at all times, so I don’t think we played it out very well those last three games especially, but I don’t think I have cause for concern,” he said.

The Minutemen got back on the ice for the first time on Thursday after a much needed rest, and only spent limited time getting their legs back underneath them before re-establishing their fast-paced style in preparation for the tournament.

The time off did provide one particular benefit for UMass, which faced its share of injuries towards the end of the first semester.

Evan Stack, Emerson Auvenshine, Steve Mastalerz and Jeff Teglia have all found themselves out of the lineup in recent games due to injuries, and are “on the recovery trail,” according to Micheletto, although it is uncertain what any player’s status is for Sunday.

What Micheletto could confirm is that forward Troy Power still has a long way to go after suffering a knee injury Nov. 30 against Northeastern.

“It’s not like he’s on the verge of returning anytime soon,” Micheletto said of Power.

Nick Canelas can be reached at ncanelas@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.

Leave A Comment