October 25, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

Michael Kimmel speaks to UMass students about ‘Guyland’ -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass football looks for third straight win against Toledo on Saturday -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

‘Love is Strange’ is beautiful, painful and groundbreaking -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

White supremacy and settler colonialism at UMass -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass hockey hopes first win will propel them past Hockey East rivals -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass’ second line playing and succeeding with young talent early in the season. -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

‘The Good Wife’ returns as strong as ever -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Professor receives grant to cover massive election survey panel -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Unions rally over recent concession proposals -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NFL Pick’em games return to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass celebrates Campus Sustainability Day -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

“Fury” falls just short of greatness -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Minutewomen look to continue their season in weekend game against Saint Bonaventure. -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New meal plans receive mixed reviews from students -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ISIS’s magazine is good for the West -

Thursday, October 23, 2014

UMass women’s soccer controls its own destiny as conference tournament approaches -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass soccer deploys new formation with Keys, Jess -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass calling on young swimmers to continue strong start to the year -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WMU, Ohio, NIU pick up wins in busy MAC weekend -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A comprehensive guide to the Ebola virus -

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

UMass hockey searching for answers on offense

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

With the holiday season in full swing, expect goals to be at the top of the Massachusetts hockey team’s Christmas list.

The Minutemen are coming off of a brutal November stretch in which they averaged 1.11 goals per game. The offensive woes also carried over to their record as they went 1-6-2 during that stretch, while never scoring more than two goals in a game.

UMass also suffered multiple lopsided defeats over the last nine games, including a 9-0 loss to New Hampshire on Nov. 9 and a 6-1 loss to Quinnipiac last Saturday.

That 6-1 loss to the Bobcats was especially striking due to the fact that the Minutemen got off to an early 1-0 lead on a Michael Pereira goal but only managed to get 10 shots on net for the entire game.

The offensive ineptitude was partially due to Quinnipiac’s strong defensive unit, but captain Troy Power still thinks his team needs to be held accountable.

“We were completely out of sync and didn’t work hard enough to get into those areas and to get pucks to the net,” he said.

Six of the Minutemen’s shots came in the first period, which meant that they only managed to record four over the final 40 minutes.

One of the reasons why UMass coach John Micheletto thinks his team has been struggling on offensive, especially in Saturday’s game, has been the amount of time spent on the penalty kill. The Bobcats received 10 power plays in the game, including five in the second period.

“You can’t get into much of a rhythm and gain much confidence in your power play or your 5-on-5 when you’re spending so much energy killing penalties and then trying to get back in the flow from it,” he said. “Particularly on Saturday, we had a pretty even back and forth game, not exactly the crispest first 20 I think out of either team, but then in the second period all of a sudden all of the momentum shifts and we’re killing five penalties in the second period. It’s tough to find any sort of offense at that point.”

It’s not like the Minutemen have been struggling to get off shots throughout the entire month like it did on Saturday.

UMass came out firing on all cylinders to take a 2-0 lead over Vermont on Nov. 22 and then went on to register 39 shots on goal two days later despite losing both games.

But many of the shots the Minutemen are taking aren’t coming on quality second chance opportunities or near the crease, which Power said is crucial for UMass to start doing in order to turn around the offensive struggles.

“I think we, just as a group, need to get a little hungrier in the scoring areas,” he said. “We’ve been working on trying to place pucks in areas where we get second opportunities, and we just need to do a better job getting to those loose pucks and bang home some greasy rebound goals.”

Coming into the season it was widely expected that the majority of the goals would come from the first line of Pereira, Conor Sheary and Branden Gracel. But the first line wasn’t clicking early on and Gracel was moved down to the third line for a few games. The three have since reunited on the first line.

One of the issues coming into the season was who would step up behind the first line, which turned out to be the second line of Power and freshmen Ray Pigozzi and Steven Iacobellis. But the team is still lacking a consistent attack from all four lines each night.

“From day one we’ve talked about being a four-line group that can all score goals,” Power said. “At times our line, at the beginning of the year, we got off to a pretty hot start and have cooled down significantly. Guys have been chipping in kind of sporadically throughout the year and we haven’t put together a game, or a series of games, where everyone has come and contributed offensively, it’s been just one line that’s been carrying the team through that game.

“To be a winning and successful team, we’re gonna need every single person on the ice, whether you’re a defenseman, goalie or forward, and we need to do a better job at just collectively all contributing as a team.”

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

Leave A Comment