UMass stresses recovery as its schedule intensifies

Minutemen take advantage of their day off on Tuesday

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Nina Walat/ Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

On Tuesday, all student athletes at the University of Massachusetts were given the day off from mandatory practices and competitions in honor of Election Day, including the members of the Massachusetts hockey team. With such a hectic schedule beginning, the Minutemen stressed recovery at the beginning of the week and players took advantage of the much-needed time away from the ice.

“I think every single guy came in for some sort of treatment, stretch-out, workout, something like that,” assistant captain Colin Felix said. “So just getting better and on their own sense, without the coaches out there, so just to come to the rink just to see the guys and be recovered for the next day. And we obviously came out with a lot of fire today.”

Following the break, UMass came into Wednesday’s practice fired up to prepare for a tough battle against Providence. Players took their time getting off the ice, staying for post-practice drills and shots. Even head coach Greg Carvel lingered to guide the drills, and when a few Minutemen dropped to do push-ups, Carvel joined in, too.

The previous weekend’s series against Merrimack saw a lot of physicality and both Josh Lopina and Aaron Bohlinger suffered injuries as a result. Many other members of the Minutemen (4-2, 2-0 Hockey East) squad were subject to harsh hits against the boards and were involved in physical altercations with the Warriors (3-4, 1-2 HEA). Throughout the weekend, UMass was charged with eight penalties, with Merrimack registering nine.

UMass had a slower start to its season having played just six games as opposed to many of the other teams who have played eight or nine. Opening the season with two losses to Minnesota State, the Minutemen were given two weeks to regroup and fix the weaknesses present in the matchup. Improvement showed against American International College, and UMass had another two weeks to practice in preparation for Hockey East play, including an exhibition against Dartmouth.

The luxury of lengthy preparation time has come to an end for UMass, though. With limited time in between games for nearly the entire month of November, it was important that the Minutemen were given the day to recover and reset ahead of the tough schedule.

“That was kind of our message to start the week that to take that off day,” Felix said. “Now we’re playing two games every weekend and I think all the way up until Thanksgiving break until we get a little bit of a break there, but we’re going to have to be ready to go and bring it all week.”

The Friars (6-3, 3-1 HEA) currently sit in seventh place after a successful start to their season, being the highest seeded team in Hockey East. After a tough series against Merrimack, the Minutemen will have another challenging, physical contest against Providence.

“Providence plays a hard game, but so do we,” sophomore forward Ryan Sullivan said. “It’s good for us to rest up and get ready for that.”

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center on Friday night.

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @SophieeWellerr.