Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

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

January 14, 2017

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 -

January 11, 2017

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 men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

UMass hockey excited to start new season against No. 19 BU, No. 1 UML

Nathalie Sczublewski/Daily Collegian

While this weekend will provide the usual nerves and excitement that accompany the season opener, it will also have an added element for Michael Pereira and the seniors for the Massachusetts hockey team.

“Nerves, excitement, bittersweet,” Pereira said. “It’s your last opening weekend.”

And this is an important weekend right out of the box for the Minutemen, because rather than ease into Hockey East action with a slew of non-conference games against unranked opponents, they are opening at No. 19 Boston University on Friday before traveling to No. 1 UMass Lowell on Saturday for what will be a non-conference game against a conference opponent.

This weekend will also be a barometer for UMass coach John Micheletto on how far his team has come during the offseason. And he says there is still plenty of teaching left to do.

“In preseason while you’re doing two hours a week, it’s more about establishing a tempo, having your guys be refreshed as to how hard we practice and what pace we play and it’s also indoctrinating the new guys into that style, into that mindset, so there’s less teaching and more setting that tempo,” he said. “Now we’re getting into special teams and face-offs and some of the more strategic things, a little more X’s and O’s and it slows down the pace of practice just a little bit. So there’s a progression that we have, we’ll stick to the plan that we set out and I think we’re in a good spot right now.”

Up to this point, the focus has been mostly directed toward the teaching aspect instead of on who the Minutemen’s opponents are this weekend.

“Just mostly just focusing on ourselves and getting ourselves ready to play at the highest level we can,” Pereira said. “We feel as if we’re playing at the highest level we can, I think we can disrupt a lot of teams and win a lot of hockey games. So we’re basically just taking care of ourselves here.

“I’m sure later on in the week we’ll take a look at the teams we’re playing this weekend, BU and Lowell. But for right now it’s just taking care of us and what we need to do to get ready for this weekend.”

The first team that UMass will have to prepare for is an unpredictable Terriers team. BU is coming off of a trip to the Hockey East Tournament finals where they lost to the River Hawks. That game proved to be the final game for longtime coach Jack Parker, paving the way for David Quinn to take over the program.

Micheletto is no stranger to the position that Quinn is in, having taken over as coach of the Minutemen just last season. Despite the learning curve that can come with a new head coach, Micheletto is expecting the Terries to be ready come Friday night.

“I’m sure David Quinn’s gonna have his guys ready to go,” he said. “It’s a home opener for them and Agganis is gonna be a difficult place to play. I don’t think it makes any difference. I know we were as anxious to win last year as we are this year and hopefully we’re able to get our first one under our belt.”

UMass enjoyed limited success against BU last year, winning in a blowout, 5-1, in the two team’s final meeting despite a 1-2 record against the Terriers overall.

The same, however, cannot be said for its recent history against UMass Lowell. The Minutemen dropped all three contests against the River Hawks last year, who were on their way to a memorable Frozen Four run.

Friday night’s game at BU is scheduled to begin a 7:30 p.m., and Saturday’s road contest against UMass Lowell is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Cameron McDonough can be reached at cameronm@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @Cam_McDonough.

 

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