HOCKEY: Staying solid

By Ryan Fleming, Collegian Staff

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After Friday night’s 1-1 tie against No. 4 New Hampshire, Don Cahoon, the Massachusetts hockey team’s coach was happy with the outcome and the effort his team put in. “You know, you’re always disappointed because you always play to win,” Cahoon said. “But with games like that you can walk away from it saying both teams left it on the ice.” In a game where only two goals were scored, there were checks, diving saves and many penalties. There were 16 penalties, 71 shots, a power play goal and a shorthanded goal. The game could have gone either way, but both of the goaltenders stood up to the task and continued to stay strong in the overtime period. “There were points in the game where we were in control,” Cahoon said. “And there were points where we were hanging on for dear life.” Very special teams The Minutemen’s special teams units continue its successful trend. UMass (2-1-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) has killed its last 13 penalties dating back to last Tuesday’s 6-0 win over Rensselaer. The special teams also played a big part in the win against RPI. Brett Watson and Justin Braun are huge reasons for this particular success. In Friday’s game against New Hampshire, Watson went 15-5 on faceoffs, an aspect of the game that Cahoon said could go either way. One of the few mistakes the Minutemen have had while one of their penalty units were on the ice was the shorthanded goal that they gave up against a tough New Hampshire team, which ended up being the game-tying goal. Braun, Watson and other penalty killers like Martin Nolet play aggressive when faced with the man-down situation. They don’t give opposing teams time to set up plays, they attack, forcing them into situations they would rather not be in. The Mass Attack is holding opponents to a .125 average on the power play, which translates into 2-16. The great wall of Meyers Dan Meyers, who sat behind former UMass goaltender Jonathan Quick two years ago is proving that he can stop pucks with the best of them. The junior net minder stopped 31 shots in UMass’ tie against the Wildcats. Most of those shots coming with many UNH attackers in front of the net obstructing Meyers’ view. With Paul Dainton recovering from an injury, Cahoon doesn’t think the goaltending situation will become difficult as Dainton inches closer to being able to play, but make the Minutemen better as a team. At this point in the season Meyers has posted a 1.47 Goals Against Average, .948 save percentage and a 2-1-1 record as the starter, impressing everyone. It’s good to be home The Minutemen have yet to play a game at home until this Friday against Providence. The Mass Attack are currently the only team in the Hockey East that has yet to play game at their own confines. Last year at home the Minutemen posted a 8-3-4 record at the Mullins Center. They hope that they can continue that success back in Amherst. Ryan Fleming can be reached at [email protected]