Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey can’t overcome slow start in Saturday’s loss to Colorado College

By Nick Souza

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(Jong Man Kim/Daily Collegian)

For the Massachusetts hockey team, Saturday night’s 7-4 loss to Colorado College was mainly a result of a start that was a total contrast to the game the night before.

While the Tigers (1-1) sealed the game in the last three minutes with two goals – including one on an empty net – it was really won in the first seven minutes, 15 seconds of the first period.

To put it lightly, UMass (1-1) came out of the gate and fell flat on it’s face. Freshman goaltender Ryan Wischow, who stood on his head Friday night against CC, lasted just over seven minutes before being replaced by sophomore Nic Renyard.

By the time Minutemen coach Greg Carvel took the timeout and made the goalie change, UMass was already well behind the eight ball.

“Tonight was just completely different,” Carvel said. “We just weren’t ready at all. As a coach, I’ve seen it a thousand times, you can tell the guys around the locker room were a little too loose.”

From the opening drop of the puck, the Minutemen were playing catch-up as the Tigers took the opening draw, which lead to their first shots of the game. After Wischow covered up a loose puck to force the defensive zone faceoff, CC won the drop again and tallied their second shot in the first ten seconds.

The Tigers finished the game with 41 shots as opposed to the Minutemen’s 18. Seventeen of CC’s shots came in the first period, and 11 by the time it was already ahead 3-0.

Exactly one minute into the game, Tiger freshman forward Branden Maraka scored the opening goal to make it 1-0. This was followed by another goal from CC’s Kristian Blumenschei just 3:49 later just after an expired penalty.

The final straw for Carvel before the timeout and change in net came off of a puck that took an odd bounce following a shot that Wischow and the Minutemen lost track off.  Maraka seized the opportunity that had fallen on his stick and capitalized on a wide-open net for his second goal of the game.

“They’re probably tired of hearing it, but I have a really good sense of what level they should be playing at each night,” Carvel said. “If they’re there them I’m happy, and if they’re not I’m not and tonight wasn’t even close.”

While UMass did crawls its way back into within one goal with just under eight minutes to go in the game, it was evident that the first seven minutes set the tone for the game.

The Minutemen’s attempt to climb back into the game was kick-started by an impressive goal by team captain and senior forward Steven Iacobellis in the first period.  However, the four goals scored by UMass could not overcome the slow start.

“Obviously it wasn’t the start we wanted,” Iacobellis said. “We had a much better start last game, but those are the things we’re going to have to work on and learn from.”

As Iacobellis alluded to, the Minutemen are rightfully unhappy with the result and also presents Carvel with his first teaching moment of his campaign with UMass.

“As a new coach this may not be the worst thing in the world,” Carvel said. “It’s my job to teach these guys how to play the right way, and that goes beyond what you do on the ice.  It means how you prepare for games and how you approach it mentally, and obviously there’s a lot to learn from tonight.”

UMass will have plenty of time to learn from Saturday’s mistakes, as it will have almost two full weeks until its next game at home against Army on Oct. 21.

Nicholas Souza can be reached at [email protected] 

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