Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Hockey: Mass Attack face No. 4 BC in weekend pair

By Ryan Fleming, Collegian Staff

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After moving up four spots to No. 16, the Massachusetts hockey team is coming off an up and down weekend.

After beating the former No. 1 Boston University, 5-1, on Friday night, the Minutemen fell to UMass Lowell, 2-0, the following night.

Heading into this weekend’s home-and-home series against No. 4 Boston College (6-3-1, 4-2-1 Hockey East) the Minutemen (5-3-1, 3-2-1 Hockey East) have to put their disappointing loss last Saturday behind them.

Friday night, UMass travels to Boston to the Conte Forum and Saturday night returns to the Mullins Center for the second part of the series.

Fortunately for the Minutemen, they are facing the Eagles at their lowest point in the season, albeit the season is only around 10 games in.

“We need to come out fast,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “We need to minimize turnovers and it’s going to come down to three things I’ll say all year: effort, execution and discipline.”

BC is 2-2-1 in its last five games, including losses to Maine, No. 5 Notre Dame and a 5-5 tie at Merrimack.

The Eagles boast a powerful offense and goaltending that is suspect this year.

Brock Bradford was recently named the Hockey East Player of the Week. In BC’s previous two games, against New Hampshire and Merrimack, Bradford tallied five goals and three assists, which included a hat trick and one assist in the tie to Merrimack.

In 10 games played, Bradford leads the Eagles with 19 points and 47 shots; the next closest player has 22 shots.

Forward Brian Gibbons is right at the top of the list with 15 points for BC. Gibbons has scored five goals and has added 10 assists. Bradford and Gibbons have registered five and three power play goals, respectively.

The Eagles as a team are successful on the power play – having a success rate of 22 percent (17-for-77). And with a man down, BC is just as successful – holding opponents to a 15 percent success rate. Most of the reason for the penalty-killing units’ success is the few shots they let up with a man down. The Eagles have allowed only 54 shots on 51 penalties, which comes out to only 1.06 shots per penalty.

The UMass power-play unit has struggled, going 0-for-13 in the last three games.

“We’re neither totally satisfied with it or totally disappointed by [our power-play unit’s performance],” Cahoon said. “We need to get a little sharper.”

Boston College net minder John Muse, who was a star all of last year, hasn’t found the right track so far this season.

Muse has a 3.27 goals-against average and a save percentage of less than .900 (.882).

Another weakness that the Minutemen can take advantage of is in the face-off circle. Boston College is winning less than 50 percent of its faceoffs, while faceoffs are one of UMass’ strong suits.

Ryan Fleming can be reached at [email protected]

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