Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s soccer drops season opener to Utah Valley in overtime -

Friday, August 28, 2015

UMass football notebook: Jackson Porter moves to WR, UMass schedules 2016 game with South Carolina -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Former UMass student who accused four men of rape in 2012 testifies during trial Friday -

Friday, August 28, 2015

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rising UMass sophomore dies unexpectedly -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

UMass football fall camp day four: Veteran offensive line boasts chemistry, looks to improve run blocking -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A colorful UMass homecoming -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Potential nighttime and weekend parking fee at UMass tabled -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day three: Ex-quarterbacks A.J. Doyle, Andrew Verboys continue transitions to new positions -

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UMass football fall camp day two: Defensive secondary hopes experience, added depth brings greater consistency -

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Long layoff allows UMass hockey to prepare for pivotal stretch run

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

By the time its 3-2 upset loss to American International on Jan. 14 became a reality, the Massachusetts hockey team was already anticipating its next game.

The problem was that the next game was still 10 days away.

The Minutemen haven’t played since that Tuesday night at Mullins Center. Since then, they’ve been battered with criticism on social media and forced to watch other teams continue their respective seasons, all while they have lived with the burden of one of their worst losses of the season for the past week.

“If you asked anyone in our locker room, we would’ve loved to play (the next night),” co-captain Troy Power said. “Unfortunately we’ve had that taste in our mouth for the last week. When a game goes that way, you want to bounce back and get a win as soon as you can.”

While another game may have provided some emotional relief, UMass has reaped the physical benefits of a long layoff between games.

Most game weeks consist of working on both skill workouts and game-specific preparation in practice. But with the extra time off, the Minutemen focused specifically on skills and conditioning last week, while putting an added emphasis on preparation for its upcoming series with Merrimack.

“There wasn’t a lot of systems or anything like that,” Power said. “But I think having that extra time allowed us this week to really focus on game preparation and stuff like that, and not really worry about skill development, because we had that extra time to do that.”

The last week also gave UMass a chance to get rested for the final nine games of the season. But according to Minutemen coach John Micheletto, it may not be as necessary for his team at this time of year as one may think.

UMass is only one month removed from the holiday break. And with their Jan. 10 game versus Cornell cancelled, the Minutemen have only played three times in the new year, one of those games being an exhibition.

UMass also finishes its regular season a week before the rest of Hockey East does, meaning they’ll have another unofficial bye week before the playoffs begin.

“We haven’t worried about rest,” Micheletto said. “Their energy has been good. We’ve been monitoring their reps throughout the course of the year, so it’s more about getting ready to go for the nine-game stretch that we have looking forward.”

The Minutemen understand the importance of these final nine games. They are one point behind Notre Dame for the eighth seed in Hockey East, which would give them a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

With its next three games coming against the two teams below it in the standings (Merrimack and Boston University), UMass’ chance to improve its positioning is greater than ever.

“It’s very important,” senior defenseman Colin Shea said. “We’re trying to gain as many points in the Hockey East standings so we can have a good playoff run here at the end of our career.”

That sentiment could be echoed by all of the Minutemen’s seniors, who have no playoff wins in two appearances during the first three years of their career.

UMass enjoyed its working break, but now the team is refocused and preparing for its last chance to turn its season around, especially for a senior class desperate for success.

“That’s what we’ve said from the beginning,” senior forward Michael Pereira said. “You don’t really try to talk about it as much – you just let your play speak for itself in practice with your teammates.”

Nick Canelas can be reached at ncanelas@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @NickCanelas.

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