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

UMass hockey set to face BC with goalie situation in doubt

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Believe it or not, there was a team that put on a bigger offensive display than New Hampshire did against the Massachusetts hockey team last weekend.

Unfortunately for the Minutemen, that team is next on their schedule.

UMass, fresh off of a 9-0 thumping at the hands of the Wildcats, is set to face No. 7 Boston College, which is coming off an 11-0 blowout of Army, this Thursday and Friday in a home-and-home series.

A loss of that magnitude is something that Minuteman coach John Micheletto hopes his team won’t have to experience again.

“The only thing that you’re always trying to do is as much as you’re trying to learn from a loss, you’re also not wanting one loss to become two because you’re not taking the lessons out of it and you’re not mentally moving on or physically moving on,” Micheletto said.

“There’s an accountability factor that will have to take place. We also can’t let that hangover last until Thursday night.”
To make matters worse for UMass (3-6-1, 1-3-1 Hockey East), the status of goaltender Steve Mastalerz is still up in the air, as he is listed day-to-day after he suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period of the team’s 4-1 loss to UNH on Friday.

That means Micheletto and his team are in a waiting period until they learn about the status of Mastalerz before Thursday’s game. Micheletto could not give a specific percentage on his chances to play this weekend, though.

If Mastalerz can’t go this weekend, that means that either Mac Haight or Alex Wakaluk will be in goal for the Minutemen.

Wakaluk earned the start on Saturday in place of Mastalerz, and the freshman allowed five goals on only 10 shots in his 22 minutes, 26 seconds of play before being pulled in favor of Haight.

While the goalie is ultimately responsible for being the last line of defense against the other team’s offense, both Wakaluk and Haight were not helped out by the defense in front of them. Two of the Wildcats’ three goals in the first period came on 2-on-1 opportunities and a majority of the goals UMass allowed were “Grade-A” opportunities, according to Micheletto.

“It’d be nice if we didn’t give up the kind of opportunities that forced them to make an unbelievable save after standing around for five minutes,” he said. “Asking any goaltender, especially either Mac or Alex in their first goes of the season and to see those types of opportunities barreling down on them is pretty unfortunate and unfair.”

All five of the goals that Wakaluk allowed were on his blocker side. UNH coach Dick Umile said after Saturday’s game that wasn’t a part of their gameplan and instead they were just trying to get it past Wakaluk.

Normally, the Minutemen would have until Friday to figure out their goalie situation, but this week they are presented with one less day to prepare for the vaunted Eagles (6-2-1, 3-0 HEA) and recuperate their injuries than they would normally.

That also leaves less time for a struggling defense to figure out a gameplan for Johnny Gaudreau, who was named the player of the year in the Hockey East as only a sophomore last year. He’s coming off a two-goal performance in the blowout against Army and has amassed nine goals and 18 points this year.

Micheletto said that his team won’t necessarily plan differently for Gaudreau, but when he is on the ice, his team will need to know where he is.

“You’re gonna know where he is when he has the puck on his stick,” he said. “It’s when he doesn’t (have the puck) that you gotta make sure you’re checking him and having guys have eyes on him because he’s obviously very elusive and very dangerous.”

Puck drop between the two is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday at Mullins Center and at 7 p.m. on Friday at BC.

Cameron McDonough can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Cam_McDonough.

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