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UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

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Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

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UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass gearing up for pivotal two-game series with Maine

Taylor C. Snow/Collegian

This weekend could prove to be now or never for the Massachusetts hockey team, as it gets set for a two-game series against Maine at the Mullins Center.

Coming off a 5-4 overtime loss Tuesday night against Northeastern and in the midst of a four-game losing streak, the Minutemen (10-16-2, 7-13-1 Hockey East Association) face a quick turnaround with the two weekend games.

“It’s not dissimilar to the situations that we’ve been in, in the past,” UMass coach John Micheletto said. “It’s about having a short memory, whether that’s coming off a good night, a poor night, a win or a loss, we’ve tried to stress that there’s a certain way to go about preparing ourselves no matter who it’s against or what the situation, we’ve got to take good and bad lessons and move ahead quickly.”

The Minutemen enter Friday night’s game one point clear of the Black Bears (8-16-6, 4-11-6 HEA) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference and each team has six games remaining. But, with both teams heading in opposite directions, Maine surging and UMass faltering, this weekend could prove to be the most important to both teams.

Coming off the overtime loss, Micheletto described the loss as a “missed opportunity” and his team was feeling “disappointed.”

One of the major problems that surfaced with the Minutemen since the holiday break has been the inability to receive balanced scoring. Currently, the top line of Michael Pereira, Branden Gracel and Conor Sheary are the top scorers for UMass.

The unbalanced attack forced Micheletto to do some jumbling with his lineups, primarily on the power play to try and get other players involved.

“The units had gotten a little bit stale,” Micheletto said. “So, part of it was giving them fresh looks and newer opportunities to put the puck on the attack.”

The move paid off, as UMass had nine different players register points in the loss to the Huskies, with Shane Walsh scoring on the power play and Darren Rowe cashing in from the point.

Another positive for the Minutemen is the familiarity of having already played the Black Bears earlier in the season. In that game, UMass fell behind 2-0, but rallied back to earn a point on the road at Alfond Arena. In that game, the Minutemen proved that it could play from behind and overcome adversity.

“The lesson we learned in Orono, (Maine) was we played the scoreboard early,” Micheletto said. “We had the better of the play early in the first period, we gave up a soft goal in the first period and we lost our energy because even though we were outplaying them, we were down. We were able to rally over the course of the game and come back to tie the game.

“That’s certainly a touchstone we’ll have for the weekend that no matter what happens, good or bad, we just need to keep playing,” he said.

UMass will have that with them this weekend in this ever-important series. A major slip up this weekend could spell the end to its playoff hopes, with only four games remaining after this weekend, all against ranked opponents.

The first game of the weekend takes place Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center. Game two of the weekend series is also slated for the same time and place.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at pstrohec@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter at @MDC_Strohecker.

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