April 17, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

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

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

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 tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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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