April 19, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

VIDEO: UMass United Ralley in support of Derrick Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Friday, April 18, 2014

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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.

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