Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass hockey travels to New Hampshire this upcoming weekend

Minutemen face extensive Hockey East play in coming weeks

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UMass hockey travels to New Hampshire this upcoming weekend

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

(Caroline O'Connor/UMass Athletics)

By Mollie Walker, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Massachusetts hockey team prepares to face Hockey East opponents in five of its next seven contests, beginning with a road trip to Durham, New Hampshire to face the Wildcats.

UNH (1-3-1, 1-0-0 Hockey East Association) recently battled its first conference competition, Vermont, after beginning the season with three losses and one tie. The Wildcats scored two goals in the third period to force overtime before securing the win with 1:40 left in the extra minutes, against the Catamounts.

No. 11 UMass (5-1-0, 2-0-0 HEA) haven’t beaten UNH in the Whittemore Center Arena in 12 years.

“We met with the team today and I said ‘I’m pretty sure we haven’t beaten UNH since I’ve been here,’” coach Greg Carvel said following Tuesday’s practice. “That was a statement by me to the team, they obviously match up well against us because we haven’t beaten them.

“They match up well by having a very good power play, very good goaltending since I’ve been here and they’re a very offensive-minded team.”

The two teams met last season on two different occasions, once in November and once in February. The Wildcats traveled to Amherst first, blanking the Minutemen 3-0 before coming out on top 3-1 in their own rink, three months later.

After sweeping Merrimack, the Minutemen earned a No. 11 ranking, moving up five spots from last week. Forward John Leonard earned Hockey East Player of the Week, extending UMass’ streak of individuals receiving player honors to three weeks.

Oliver Chau, who made his season debut against Merrimack this weekend, recalls how well the Wildcats play on their own ice. He considers UNH to be a skilled group that will require UMass to “out-will and out-grind them like we have so far this season.”

“They have a really big sheet, I think it’s bigger than ours,” Chau said. “So they know how to play on it.”

The sophomore forward rejoined the first line with Jake Gaudet and Mitchell Chaffee after being unable to play the first four games of the season. He noted how well the two have been playing and that he’s “just trying to get back up to speed with them and keep the lines going as a team.”

“It felt good to get back out there with the guys,” Chau said, “obviously it’s hard to start the year side-lined.”

Carvel thinks the one-game schedule this week will serve the team well, allowing them to rest and focus on one singular contest. He still plans on conducting three solid practices before Saturday.

“We’re 5-1 and we’ve played four road games,” Carvel said. “Those things, they add up and I think this is a really good time for us just to have a Saturday game because it gave them Sunday and Monday off the ice.

“I think it’s perfect timing,” Carvel added, “give them an extra day to recover and not have to listen to me.”

Game time is set for 7 p.m.

 

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MWalker2019.

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