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 prepares for four straight against Maine

Nicole Evangelista/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts hockey team’s upcoming schedule is about to get “unusual.”

The Minutemen (2-2) will face Hockey East foe Maine four straight times over the next two weekends, and the first weekend is scheduled to be a non-conference two-game tilt in Orono, Maine, on Friday and Saturday.

“Yeah it’s definitely different from in the past,” UMass forward Conor Sheary said. “We’ve never done something like that, but I guess we’ll know what to expect by the last few games. But it’s a little weird, a little different.”

Despite the uncommon task of preparing for the same team four times in a row, Minuteman coach John Micheletto is looking for a top-notch effort from his team, no matter who they are facing and how many times.

“It’s unusual for us at this point,” he said. “But we’re stressing to our guys ‘I don’t care who we’re playing, I don’t care how many times in a row, we need to make sure we’re practicing success and winning at every turn.’ So whether it’s the first game of this quote unquote series or the last game, we want to put our best foot forward.”

Even though these conference opponents are quite familiar with each other, the Black Bears (1-2) will look a little different than the team that surpassed UMass for the eighth and final spot in the Hockey East Tournament last year.

After being swept by UMass Lowell in the first round of the tournament, Maine fired longtime coach Tim Whitehead and turned to Red Gendron to get the Black Bears back on a successful path.

The Minutemen’s seniors, like Sheary, are quite familiar with Gendron though, as he was an assistant at UMass from 2005-11.

“We might be familiar with a few things since we had Red here our freshman year, all the seniors,” Sheary said. “But he’s a great coach and I’m sure he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve and he’s motivating those guys to come out hard, and we’ll be ready for them.”

Maine will enter the first game of the series coming off of its first win of the season, a 2-1 victory over Bentley after being swept on the road by St. Lawrence in the opening weekend.

Junior forward Stu Higgins led the Black Bears in their win with a pair of goals, while Martin Ouellette made 24 saves in net.

Meanwhile, the Minutemen are coming off of a successful weekend of their own at home against Michigan State. UMass swept the Spartans with a 3-1 victory on Friday and a 5-2 comeback win on Saturday.

One of the keys for the Minutemen in both games was their play on the man advantage, as they scored five of their eight goals on the power play. UMass now boasts one of the best power plays in the nation with a 32 percent success rate. That puts it in a tie for second with Northeastern.

Going forward, the Minutemen are looking for continued success on the power play.

“Special teams is a big part of our game,” Sheary said. “Every year we want to be above 20 (percent) and probably about 80 (percent) on the (penalty kill). So to come out, I think we’re 30 percent, it’s just a lot of communication out of the guys that are on the power play and listening to what the coaches are giving us and playing out for us. So it’s working real well for us.”

Friday’s puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network. Saturday’s game will take place at 7:30 p.m. and can be seen on Fox College Sports.

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

 

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