Scrolling Headlines:

: Nineteen turnovers sink UMass men’s basketball in loss to Fordham Saturday -

January 21, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls to Fordham behind strong defensive effort by the Rams -

January 21, 2017

UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

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

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.

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