Penalties hurt Minutemen in 5-2 loss

By Steve Levine

Geoff King/Collegian

Penalties hurt the Massachusetts hockey team this weekend.

UMass (0-5-2, 0-2-2 Atlantic 10) was confident it would pick up its first win against Army this weekend. Instead, the Minutemen were unprepared and took an abundance of penalties en route to a 5-2 loss.

“Clearly we didn’t come here prepared enough to play,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “The competitive piece that we thought we had in place certainly was missing. The thing that perturbed me more than anything else was the types of penalties we took. Had we stayed out of the box, we might have given ourselves a reasonable chance to get back in it. But because we wanted to play with total selfish demeanor, we ended up being outcompeted, outplayed, out-executed.”

The Minutemen’s uninspiring play was evident from the onset of the game, but their eight penalties thwarted any chance of gaining momentum and ultimately cost them the game.

“It’s tough to win a game with so many penalties like that,” junior T.J. Syner said. “It’s tough to bounce back and get into the rhythm of the game when you’re behind so much killing [penalties]. I didn’t see one good penalty that we took, and I definitely thought we deserved every one we were given.”

The Minutemen drew six penalties themselves, but could not convert, as their power-play remains ineffective.

 The Black Knights scored the game’s first three goals during even strength play. UMass freshman Michael Pereira made it 3-1 seconds later with his fourth goal of the season. But UMass continued to take penalties, and Army took control by scoring two consecutive power-play goals for a 5-1 lead.

“Anytime you get momentum and all of a sudden you’re killing a penalty that’s just going to take away the momentum,” Syner said. “One of our goals this year was to be the least penalized team in Hockey East, and we definitely weren’t tonight.”

“[There was] a variety of horrendous mistakes and I’m incredibly disappointed,” Cahoon said. “The only thing we can do is get back to the drawing board. One thing I can tell you is that we had two very good practices and two sluggish practices. You very rarely get through a week where you have problems in practice and don’t have [those] problems in games. I see it all the time.”

In the second period, UMass freshman Conor Allen took a major penalty for hitting from behind. The Black Knights took advantage of its extended power-play, and made it 4-1 during a five-on-three man advantage with 4:32 to play in the period.

On top of the penalties, UMass’ lack of effort was surprising. Like the Black Knights, the Minutemen are known for their motivation and resilience. Their play on Friday was anything but, and Cahoon was well aware of that.

“[I’m] totally embarrassed and [this was] just a pathetic performance from a group of guys who have to find their way.”

Rookie goaltender Jeff Teglia replaced Paul Dainton for the third period. Dainton made 10 saves and Cahoon dismissed the notion that he might not be fully healthy after an injury he sustained earlier this season.

“We’re not making excuses, and were not looking for other people to make excuses for us. We were just flat out bad tonight.”

Cahoon also said he had three or four players who were complete “no-shows” this weekend, and that they are in danger of losing ice time.

Steve Levine can be reached at [email protected].