Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutemen host Terriers to open home slate Friday

Collegian Staff, Maxwell Sparr
At 7 p.m. on Friday, the Massachusetts hockey team will christen the Mullins Center for the first time this season by welcoming in No. 8 Boston University for an always-exciting Minutemen/Terriers matchup.

UMass (0-2-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) and BU (2-0-1, 0-0-1 HE) opened their conference schedules last Saturday, when the two teams met for the Terriers’ home opener. The contest ended in a 2-2 draw and featured the collegiate debut of UMass rookie goaltender Jeff Teglia, who stopped 33 of 35 shots.

Teglia’s debut came at the expense of senior goaltender Paul Dainton, who is still recovering from injury. It is unknown who will get the start on Friday.

On Saturday, BU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 11 minutes. After a scoreless second, UMass responded with two goals in the third from sophomore defenseman Darren Rowe and senior forward Marc Concannon.

The power play has been a problem for the Minutemen so far, who are 2-16 for the season on the man advantage. After losing key power play members from last year, UMass coach Don Cahoon has yet to decide which forwards will start power plays this year. Cahoon plans on starting defensemen Rowe and junior Michael Marcou on the blue line on the power play.

UMass’ penalty kill has been effective of late, going 8-10 in its previous two games including a 4-4 effort against BU.

A main concern for the Minutemen is their uninspiring first period play. In three games this year, opponents have outscored UMass, 6-0, in first periods. The same cannot be said about UMass’ performance in the second and third periods, outscoring opponents 4-3 and 5-3, respectively.

The Minutemen cannot afford to fall behind early to the Terriers, who, like always, feature some of the most skilled players in the country.

BU’s Joe Pereira, a senior forward and brother of UMass’ freshman forward Mike Pereiria, was named co-captain of the Terriers for this season along with junior forward Chris Connolly. Both have worn the ‘C’ very well so far, combining for four goals and three assists in three games.

The Terriers’ David Warsofsky, a junior defenseman, currently shares the team-lead in points with freshman forward Sahir Gill. Gill has logged important minutes for BU so far, and figures to be one of the Terriers’ marquee rookies this year.

With 13 freshmen, the Minutemen have no choice but to rely on their rookies to provide scoring production. So far, they have gotten just that. Three of UMass’ top six scorers are freshmen, including forwards Pereira, Conor Sheary and defensemen Colin Shea.

Scoring might be hard to come by for the Minutemen on Friday. Already troubled with an ineffective power play and inexperienced forwards, UMass will have to beat BU goalie Kieran Millan, who became a staple in net for the Terriers ever since his freshman campaign in the 2008-2009 season when he went 28-2-3 en route to numerous accolades. Millan has stopped 52 of 57 shots in two games this year for a 1-0-1 record.

Although considered the underdogs of the contest, UMass’ play in the Mullins Center has something to say about that. The Minutemen are 43-25-8 over their last 76 games at home, including an 8-7 mark set last year.

UMass expects a big turnout for Friday’s contest. Last year, when the Minutemen upset the Terriers, 3-2, the Mullins Center drew 8,123 people out of a possible 8,387. Friday night could break that mark, creating an unforgettable atmosphere for the young Minutemen team.

Steve Levine can be reached at [email protected].

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