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 attempts to build momentum heading into matchup against Vermont

The Minutemen look to adjust after losing 6-2 to the Catamounts
Matt Skillings
Daily Collegian

Coming off a large win against Harvard, the No. 10 Massachusetts hockey team is looking to bring that energy into its game against the Vermont Catamounts on Friday.

With player’s games quickly coming together, the Minutemen (9-3-1, 4-2-1 Hockey East) are starting to play at their best. In their last six games, they have won five games and are on a three-game win streak. The one loss UMass took in six games was to Vermont (3-5-1, 2-3-1 HEA) in the second game of the series earlier in November.

The Minutemen took a 6-2 loss after struggling for two straight periods on Nov. 11. In the first game, though, UMass won 4-1 after a strong performance from its first line of Michael Cameron, Ryan Lautenbach and Lucas Mercuri.

“The second game that we lost, I don’t think the score was indicative of the game but there were parts of the game we needed to get better at and we’re already addressing it…we will do our best to make some adjustments,” head coach Greg Carvel said.

The Minutemen have played three games since the Vermont series against Providence and Harvard, coming out with close wins. Against the Crimson, UMass’ depth scoring peaked through with 13 different players showing up with points.

Despite at times trailing in games, the Minutemen have continually come back. With an overtime win against Providence and a comeback win against Harvard, UMass has not backed down from teams.

“The big difference in this team compared to last year is that there is no panic,” sophomore Kenny Connors said. “I don’t think anyone thought that we were losing [the Harvard game] the entire way.”

The second line of Taylor Makar, Connors and Cole O’Hara shined against Harvard. Carvel had voiced wanting to see more production from the three players before the game and they showed up big.

“That was [O’Hara’s] best game of the year,” Carvel said. “He made an outstanding play on the game winning goal. [Connors] sets up the game tying and scores the game winner and I thought that’s why we were as good as we were in that game is because that line has been as good as they’ve been this year.”

O’Hara and Connors have been linemates since their freshmen year and now as sophomores have built off their first seasons. After playing most of his sophomore and beginning of junior year with Lautenbach and Mercuri, Makar was moved onto the line with the sophomores.

“[Makar] plays with a lot of speed, plays really fast and that’s kind of our whole identity to our team,” O’Hara said. “When you’re playing with him, when you’re always playing fast and moving pucks quick so it’s nice.”

Vermont has played just one game since traveling to the Mullins Center in the Nov. 10 and 11 series. The Catamounts stayed close after the series, taking on American International College in Springfield on Nov. 18.

AIC scored two shorthanded goals against Vermont in the Yellow Jackets’ 2-1 win. The Minutemen are 77.4 percent on the penalty kill and can build off that in the game against the Catamounts.

Jeremie Bucheler and Will Zapernick lead Vermont with five points each. Bucheler scored two goals on UMass in the 6-2 loss. Zapernick has seen the ice well in the season with four assists.

The Minutemen will need to see more consistency in net after freshman netminder Michael Hrabal struggled against Harvard. Hrabal allowed five goals on 10 shots, forcing Carvel to put in senior Cole Brady in the second period. Brady faced seven shots and did not allow a goal against him.

UMass will take on Vermont on the road in Burlington, Vermont on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7:00 p.m. Along with the game being the Catamounts’ first game home since Nov. 4, it will also be their “Green Out the Gut” event.

“We hear it’s their Green Out so obviously we want to go in there and take it to them,” O’Hara said.

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.

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