Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutemen face Holy Cross for first time since 2011-12 season

UMass holds a five-game winning streak, tied for fifth-longest in program history

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Minutemen face Holy Cross for first time since 2011-12 season

Caroline O'Connor/Collegian

Caroline O'Connor/Collegian

Caroline O'Connor/Collegian

Caroline O'Connor/Collegian

By Mollie Walker, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Massachusetts hockey team looks to extend its winning streak to six games on Friday as it travels to play Holy Cross for the first time since the 2011-12 season. It’ll be the Minutemen’s fifth non-conference matchup of the year thus far, following a stretch of three different Hockey East opponents.

After sweeping Providence, UMass (8-1-0, 5-0-0 Hockey East Association) earned a No. 4 ranking in the USCHO poll. Netminder Matt Murray also took home Hockey East Player of the Week, marking the fourth time a UMass player earned the honor this season.

“The nice thing about playing a team like Providence is they reveal where your weaknesses are,” coach Greg Carvel said after practice on Tuesday. “We weren’t super excited about our level of play against Providence but again, that’s a great opponent. We know that we can be a lot better.”

The Crusaders (1-6-1, 1-3-1 Atlantic Hockey Association) opened their 2018-19 campaign with a win but have yet to register another, dropping six straight. They recently ended the losing streak with a 3-3 tie against Niagara University after falling 6-3 the night before.

UMass’ five-game winning streak is tied for the fifth-longest in program history. The Minutemen’s only other win streaks of more than five games in the DI era came in 2007 and 1993.

“Winning streaks are hard to get and the longer they go, the harder you need to make the other team work to take it from you,” Carvel said. “You protect the winning streak. If someone is going to take it from you, they have to rip it out of your hands. You can’t fumble it to them.

“Ultimately, each game is its own game and whether we’re playing Providence or Holy Cross, it’s always about our level of play.”

Sophomore defenseman Mario Ferraro said that the team has focused on not getting caught up in success. After every win, the Minutemen have congregated for film and analyzed what they did well and what they need to improve on, no matter what opponent is on the horizon.

“We’re never looking to be satisfied; that’s a huge problem that a lot of teams have is being satisfied,” Ferraro said. “With being ranked No. 4, we want to try and strive to be No.1. So, we’ve got to keep going and keep pushing to be the best that we can be every single day.”

The Minutemen’s No. 4 ranking is the highest in program history. Carvel has believed in his team’s talent since the very beginning of the season and isn’t surprised by its most recent successes.

But according to him, the team hasn’t paid any attention to the ranking noise.

“Obviously we’re in unchartered waters, but I know for sure we’re not getting comfortable,” Carvel said. “The best thing about [being ranked] is it makes recruiting easier, it makes people more willing to come to the games. It furthers the pride of the alumni and respect of the program, so that stuff is great.

“We’ve created respectability and building a better reputation here, that part is all great. But I honestly don’t think it’s effected our team.”

Puck is set to drop in the Hart Center at 7:05 p.m.

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

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